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Fatal fall in North Carolina kills construction worker


When workers suffer a fatal workplace accident, it is important for family members to know what to do. One family may be struggling with this after a fatal construction accident recently claimed the life of a worker in a nearby North Carolina community two hours southwest of the Asheville area. The fatality occurred when the 54-year old worker fell at a construction site. According to a representative from the North Carolina Department of Labor, the victim was working on a ladder on an exterior balcony of a five-story building when he fell. The victim worked for a subcontractor on the construction project.

The North Carolina Occupational Safety & Health Division is investigating the fatal accident. The accident investigation may take a number of months. The contractor for the project and the subcontractor are both being investigated. The investigation will include determining if the two companies have had other employees exposed to similar dangers, if the companies should have known about the danger, and if the companies could have prevented the accident. If health and safety violations are determined to have taken place, the companies could receive citations.

Fatal workplace accident investigations of this nature are typically limited to events surrounding the accident, unless there is an indication that a broader investigation is needed. Physical evidence and photos will be collected at the site of the accident and witnesses will be interviewed as part of the investigation. The Department of Labor will look at different factors as part of their investigation, including what kind of fall protection was required, the condition of the ladder, and whether or not the ladder was being used correctly at the time of the accident. The investigation will seek to determine the cause of the accident.

However, though the state's investigation may help uncover what happened and might impose sanctions on the companies responsible, this does very little for the families that must suffer from the loss of their loved ones. When these families do not know what to do, they should consider seeking legal advice, as the law may afford them financial protections, whether through the workers' compensation system or a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: The Mecklenburg Times, "Worker dead after fall at Charlotte job site," Mark Abramson, Oct. 19, 2015

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