Construction accident claims worker’s life in northern Florida

A 29-year-old father of two boys working for Mariana-based Superior Structures for the last five years recently fell 40 feet to his death while attempting to erect a billboard beside the East-West Expressway.

A veterinarian working nearby dashed over to assist the worker after a co-worker ran inside the office asking for somebody to call 911, but she was unable to find a pulse. She began CPR and continued for approximately seven minutes until the arrival of paramedics on the scene. The man was later pronounced dead at Florida Hospital East about an hour later.

The construction accident is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by field investigators from the Tampa office. They have not divulged whether the worker was wearing his safety harness when the accident occurred.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office released an incident report that states that one of the man’s co-workers warned him not to not strap the basket he was in to a large pipe being erected. The basket containing the man separated from a crane after the pipe tipped over at approximately 3:45 p.m. In a futile attempt to save himself, the worker frantically tried to cut the strap joining the basket and pipe but the basket plunged to the ground with him inside.

There is no indication in the sheriff’s report why the worker needed to ride beside the huge pipe prior to its being stabilized in the ground as support for a double billboard. But he apparently had an awareness of the danger, as he had told the crane operator, “if anything happened he would cut the strap to free the basket from the pipe.”

A witness working nearby stated to investigators that he heard hollering and saw the “basket . . . swing back and forth violently because it broke from the crane and crashed to the ground,” according to a report.

While it appears the man may bear some of the responsibility for the accident that took his life, a skilled attorney may be able to prove negligence on the part of the company and recover damages for his grieving family. However, the family may be eligible for a workers’ compensation benefit.

SourceOrlando Sentinel, “Probe of billboard fatality continues” Henry Pierson Curtis, May. 08, 2014