Tragedy struck Wilmington’s Historic District last Friday when a 32-year-old construction worker fell from scaffolding while working on the Cape Fear Hotel Apartments. The Wilmington Fire Department says the accident occurred around 2:30 p.m. while the man was installing brick veneer on the senior living building, which was originally constructed in 1924. The worker was in stable condition when evacuated from the scene, but died later at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. The North Carolina Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health division has launched an investigation into the accident.
The construction trades are inherently dangerous because they involve heavy machinery and dangerous environments. Construction companies are required to adhere to strict safety standards and can be fined or have their projects shut down if they endanger their employees or the public.
According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, the most common safety violations on construction sites involve a lack of fall protection. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires fall protection devices, such as safety harnesses and lanyards, to be provided for workers on any projects taking place at a height of six feet or higher. Unfortunately, not all construction companies observe these rules, especially for lower heights. In reality, serious injuries can occur in slip-and-falls from even ground level, especially when tools are involved.
Construction companies must implement, oversee, and enforce safety protocols and procedures and follow all OSHA regulations to ensure the safety of employees and the safety of the public. The urge to get a construction project done on time and under budget should never come at the price of bodily injury or death to any human being.