A 30-year-old worker was killed in a North Carolina construction accident, after suffering a five-story fall from scaffolding.
The incident occurred in Raleigh, about an hour outside of Greensboro, and was the second construction accident in that city in just two days.
News reports of the incident, citing Department of Labor sources, indicate that the company that had been overseeing the site was cited two times in recent years for safety violations involving scaffolding and worker fall protections.
Our Greensboro wrongful death attorneys know that this is so often the case when there is a death or catastrophic injury stemming from a workplace accident. While many companies do try their best to adhere to proper safety protocol, we see the same offenders violating these laws again and again.
This particular company specialized in vinyl siding and remodeling. The firm also offered services for doors, windows, decks and roofing.
Early findings of the investigation appear to indicate that the worker was wearing both a harness and a lanyard. However, he unhooked that lanyard to lead outward in order to install a vent.
Construction workers are required to receive proper safety and health training to advise against such actions, and there should have been someone on site ensuring that all workers were following those safety provisions. It’s not yet clear whether the company was in violation of those guidelines, as the investigation, which is also exploring the general contractor’s liability, is still ongoing.
The employer had been fined $1,000 last year and $600 the year before when state safety inspectors identified “fall problems” associated with scaffolding use by the firm.
The general contractor too had been previously fined for safety violations – $2,000 in 2005. The company offered a series of worker training opportunities in lieu of having to pay that fine.
Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control launched a campaign to prevent construction worker falls. The issue is a serious one, as falls are the No. 1 cause of construction-related fatalities, and account for one out of every three on-the-job injuries and deaths in the construction industry.
The campaign focuses on raising awareness of the fall-related dangers within the construction industry. The agency stresses the importance of contractors and workers teaming up prior to every job to discuss safety when working at heights.
Contractors have a responsibility to offer workers the necessary equipment they need to stay safe when working on an elevated surface. Companies also have to train workers in how to use the equipment and how to stay safe.
Scaffolding falls in particular are a major problem on construction sites. Among the primary steps employers can take to prevent these falls are:
- Providing an access ladder;
- Using only scaffold-grade lumber;
- Installation of guardrails and toeboards on all scaffolding that is higher than 10 feet off the ground;
- Ensuring that scaffolding is able to support four times the maximum intended load;
- Ensuring that the scaffold is level by using screw jacks or, in the alternative, base plates and mudsills;
- Maintaining a distance of no more than 14 inches between the building and the scaffold.
Construction site falls are entirely preventable. Protections should be in place to ensure that every worker goes home safely at the end of the day.
Contact our Greensboro wrongful death lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Man falls to death at Raleigh construction site, Jan. 24, 2014, Staff Report, WRAL.com
Employer of worker who fell to his death in Raleigh has history of ‘fall problems’, Jan. 24, 2014, By Thomas Si McDonald, The News-Observer
Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction, updated February 2014, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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One person killed, another injured, after fall from Greensboro carnival ride, May 28, 2011, Greensboro Wrongful Death Lawyer Blog