Advocates Demand Reform in Wake of Deadly Carolina Workplace Injury

iStock_000011782785_Small.jpg

Three men died, and another was hurt, in a recent construction site workplace injury. An investigation is still underway, and experts say it could take months before it's fully understood what caused the accident. However, according to a WRAL News report, some experts feel it could have been prevented if OSHA had updated its antiquated construction safety guidelines.

Scaffolding Collapse in Raleigh
On the morning of March 23, 2015, the Charter Square building in Raleigh, North Carolina, at 501 Fayetteville Street, was bustling with activity. Charter Square is slated to be a mixed-use development, with retail, office, and residential space. Dozens of construction workers were gathered on the site, many of which worked for different companies and contracting firms. Although it's unclear at this time how many of those killed or injured were on the scaffolding when it failed, we do know that the eyewitnesses are telling similar stories. Some heard what sounded like a loud explosion, while others are certain they heard the scaffolding snap. According to reports, one particular worker on the building's fifth floor observed the scaffolding shaking, and reached out to try to help another man on it, just before the collapse. Sadly, those on-site could only stand by helplessly, as several men fell more than 200 feet to their deaths.

Could it Have Been Prevented?
The unit involved is what's known as a "mast climber," and, historically, there have been arguments about whether it should be considered a mobile scaffold, or a supported scaffold, for the purposes of safety regulation. Mast climbers consist of a base, a post, and a platform, which is anchored to the post. They're used to allow workers access to a large section of the outside of a building, and the platform can be raised or lowered to provide access to different elevations. At the time when the Raleigh incident occurred, the mast climber was in the process of being lowered. According to an expert interviewed by WRAL, present regulations require workers to be tethered to the scaffolding, in order to prevent falls if there's an issue. In this incident, the men were all wearing their tethers, but they were useless since the scaffolding, itself, failed. Had the tethers been anchored to the building instead, several lives may have been spared. There hasn't been a workplace injury in Charleston like this before, and even workers who have been in the construction industry for decades have said they've never seen anything of this magnitude.

Who is at Fault?
In this case, there may be many agencies at fault. The company that designed the mast climber will likely be investigated, as well as the subcontractor that installed it on the site. There may be other companies who had involvement in the project who will be looked into as well. Because OSHA guidelines don't require workers to be tethered to the building, it may even be determined that no agency is at fault. Without a doubt, this is a very complex case, which many of us will be watching for some time to come. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

Charleston Workplace Injury Attorney

If you have been hurt, or have lost a loved one, due to an incident at work, reparations for medical expenses and damages, as well as pain and suffering, may be available. Incidents like this are not always straightforward workers' compensation claims, and many entities may be held responsible. Incidents like this can also bring about new safety regulations, which can save future lives. If you need help following an on-the-job accident, please contact us online, or speak to one of our attorneys now by calling1(800)610-2546.

Contact Us

Clore Law Group welcomes your questions about any issues concerning a serious personal injury, car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, business tort, or workplace injury. If you have a viable claim, we’ll explain the legal process. Since consultations are always free, there’s no cost in learning your legal options.