A contractor working at the Bayside Power Station of Tampa Electric Co. died after falling through a grate on a catwalk on July 14, according to a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The worker fell somewhere between 40 and 50 feet before impact. The 31-year-old was employed by Southeastern Construction and Maintenance Co. and was part of a crew that was taking apart an old boiler.
According to a spokeswoman for TECO, the boiler was being dismantled because it was no longer needed after the power plant’s conversion from coal to natural gas fuel, and the part of the plant where the employee was working was no longer being used. She added that the employee had been working on this project at the plant for a number of weeks.
In April 1999, a generator exploded at this same power plant, then called the Gannon Power Station. Three workers were killed and 50 more were injured in the explosion, which TECO officials blamed on employee errors. The federal government disagreed, blaming TECO for the blast, and levied a $25,200 fine against the company in that incident.
In a situation where an individual dies in a construction site accident, the family of the victim may have a claim for wrongful death. Such cases require careful investigation into the facts surrounding the incident to determine the factors that contributed to its occurrence. This investigation may lead to criminal charges in some cases.
Even if no criminal charges are brought, an attorney may be able to use the facts gathered by investigators to build a civil case showing that the company was negligent or did not take proper precautions to prevent such an accident. If wrongful death is proven to be a result of construction accidents like this one, the victim’s family may be awarded compensation to cover lost wages and other damages.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Worker falls to his death at TECO plant“, William Levesque, July 14, 2014