The fatal construction accident occurred a short time before 2:00 p.m. in the downtown area of West Palm Beach, where a construction crew was working at a building on Fern Street. The exact location of the construction site is 333 Fern Street, just northeast of South Dixie Highway. The building is slated to be a 210-unit apartment complex named “The Alexander.” If there are no further delays caused by the recent accident, the apartment building should be completed sometime later this summer.
According to authorities, the victim fell through a section of plywood and metal framework on the 15th floor of the building and landed on top of a chain-link fence on the ground. It was initially believed that the victim fell from the building’s 10th floor, but investigators spoke with witnesses and later determined that the victim was on the 15th floor when he lost his balance and fell to the ground below.
Other construction crew members saw the fall and immediately dialed 911 to alert the West Palm Beach Police Department, which dispatched police officers, fire rescue squad members, and ambulances to the area. Tragically, there was very little that emergency workers could do for the worker; he was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Officials said that the victim was a 27-year-old man.
Fortunately, no other workers sustained injuries as a result of the construction site accident.
After the accident, authorities shut down the nearby South Dixie Highway for several hours so that debris could be cleared from the area and officials could investigate.
West Palm Beach law enforcement is actively investigating the construction mishap and trying to figure out exactly what caused the worker to slip and fall from the building.
The reality is that construction sites are often extremely dangerous and pose serious health risks to workers. That’s because construction workers typically have to perform difficult tasks involving heavy machinery and tools while also working at great heights. Moreover, construction workers sometimes have to deal with debris, which can make it tough for them to maintain their balance.
West Palm Beach fire officials have indicated that construction site debris appeared to have fallen along with the victim in this case. Moreover, at the time of the fatal accident, the worker was on a floor that was not yet completed. Since the 15th floor was still under construction, it may have posed greater risks than the floors below.
In the aftermath of a fatal construction accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) typically investigates in order to determine whether the construction site operators were negligent. In situations like this, OSHA is also tasked with making sure that a workplace is safe for employees to return to. According to authorities, OSHA has already declared the West Palm Beach construction site safe for construction crew members. However, officials from the federal safety agency remained at the worksite for a week after the fatal accident just to make sure that proper safety precautions were being taken by the site operators.
Depending on the circumstances of the West Palm Beach construction accident, it is possible that several entities could be held legally responsible for the construction worker’s death. This would include Kolter Group and Ram Realty, the two real estate development firms that own the building, as well as KAST Construction, the company responsible for construction at the site.
If you were injured in a workplace accident in Palm Beach County or anywhere else in Florida, you need to speak with a qualified personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney. The experienced personal injury and workers’ comp lawyers at the Law Offices of Russ E. Robbins, P.A. can help you with your case. Contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation.