RALEIGH, N.C. – Three construction workers were killed in a scaffolding accident on Monday, March 23, 2015. The accident occurred in the 500 block of Fayetteville Street. A construction platform plummeted from the Charter Square building around 11 a.m. In addition to the three men killed, one worker was hurt and listed in serious condition at WakeMed.
According to witnesses, a popping sound was clearly audible, followed by the giving away of the scaffolding which then crashed to the ground. According to Choate, the contractor for the Charter Square project, the scaffolding was the “mast climber” design. The platform was built to go up the side of any building using a vertical column.
The scaffolding was being lowered toward the ground when it failed.
The contracting company is now investigating the incident.
The City of Raleigh, according to a news release, does not have any system in place for the inspection of scaffolding systems in or on city construction sites. The North Carolina Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division has 180 days from the date of the collapse to issue any citations.
Victims were identified as Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez, 33 of Clinton, Jose Erasmo Hernandez, 41 of Durham, and Anderson Almeida, 33 of Durham. The injured was identified as Elmer Guevara, 53. A relative of the survivor told reporters that Guevara will need further surgeries and may have been saved because he fell on the roof of a portable toilet.
There was no inspection of the scaffolding prior to its use, but this is not abnormal. There are fewer than 100 inspectors employed by the state of North Carolina to work more than 200,000 job sites. It is simply not possible to inspect every site. When inspectors do visit sites, every aspect, including scaffolding, is looked at.
This accident will be closely looked at and, if necessary, policy changes may be forthcoming. One reason accidents are investigated is to not only discover what went wrong, but to determine how to prevent it from happening again.
Meanwhile, loved ones try to come to terms with their losses.
If you have been injured in a construction accident or any other type of work-related accident, our compassionate, experienced attorneys are here to assist you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We will review the facts of your case and discuss with you the best way to move forward. Call now.