Fatal Falls from Scaffolding – Death of Three in Raleigh Illustrates Dangers

Construction workers face a variety of risks on the job. One of the most dangerous aspects of their job is working high up on scaffolding where fatal falls are a very real risk.

In 2015, the collapse of scaffolding in Raleigh in North Carolina claimed the lives of three workers.

Later that year, the North Carolina Department of Labor announced that three construction companies were cited and fined for their role in a deadly scaffolding collapse at the Charter Square construction site in Raleigh, NC.

The collapse of scaffolding on March 23, 2015, led to the deaths of three workers and seriously injured a fourth.

Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez, 33, of Clinton; Jose Erasmo Hernandez, 41, of Durham; and Anderson Almeida, 33, of Durham, plunged to their deaths. Elmer Guevara, 53, was treated for serious injuries.

Fatal falls from scaffolding kill many workers every year

Falls from scaffolding are often deadly

The scaffolding involved in the accident was a mast climber scaffold. The equipment moves up and down the side of a building to transport workers to different floors. Workers were dismantling the scaffold when a track snapped off and fell into a twisted heap on the ground, reported WRAL.com.

The three companies that were cited were Associated Scaffolding Co. Inc., Jannawall Inc. and Juba Aluminum Products Co.

Associated Scaffolding was accused of three willful violations and one serious violation of the North Carolina’s Occupational Safety and Health Act, investigators said. The company was accused of loaded scaffolding with more weight than it was intended to hold, failing to install scaffolding components to the manufacturer's recommendations and not providing a competent party to work on safety procedures to protect workers from falls. The company was fined $151,900.

Fatal falls from scaffolding occur more often than we think. If you are injured on a construction site or lose a loved one you may be able to sue an employer, site manager or site owner separately from any workers’ compensation that’s available, if negligence was involved.

Every year hundreds of people lose their lives on construction sites. Falls cause many of these serious accidents. In 2013, of 800 deaths recorded in the construction industry, 291 were fatal falls, stated the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Scaffolding can collapse if it’s improperly built. If scaffolding fails, injured workers may have grounds to sue a negligent party or even a manufacturer if there was a defect. Tragically, these cases often involve fatalities and end up in wrongful death lawsuits brought by family members.

Call our premises liability team for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077 if you have been injured in an industrial accident or lost a loved one.

Griff O'Hanlon

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