The tragic accident happened at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday on Santa Monica Boulevard between Sawtelle Boulevard and the 405 Freeway.
Authorities say the beam was being unloaded off of a semi-truck by a crane when it somehow came loose, and 42-year-old Adolfo Figueroa became pinned underneath it. The Los Angeles Fire Department was called to try and rescue him, but Figueroa died at the scene. The beam was initially thought to be concrete, but it was later reported to be made of steel.
"He's alongside the semi-truck as the beam is being off-loaded, and at some point, the beam does fall," described CHP Sgt. Joe Zezi.
The construction in the area is part of the 405 Widening Project. The accident happened on the Santa Monica off-ramp. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which is overseeing the freeway project, says all work will be halted so employees of Kiewit Construction can grieve and equipment and safety procedures can be reviewed.
Authorities say this is the first major incident on the 405 Freeway Project since work began in 2009.
"The contractor has performed 4.5 million man hours of work without a major accident, so it's a very good safety record, but accidents can and do happen," said David Soterro with the MTA.
MTA and Kiewit both released statements about the incident, extending condolences to Figueroa's friends and family members.
Figueroa, from Lancaster, has worked with Kiewit Construction since May 2011. An investigation into exactly what happened is still ongoing. CHP and Cal/OSHA are conducting separate investigations into the incident. It's unknown when the road work will resume.