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McCabe in the News: "Carolina Public Press: Construction industry has lion's share of NC workplace deaths"

The Law Offices of John M. McCabe was recently featured in Carolina Public Press. The article covers a tragic construction site accident on January 13, 2021. The project was to complete a retaining wall, but the general contractor in Henderson County failed to check that the new wall could withstand a load. This led to the wall collapsing on the workers, leading to serious injuries and even the death of one worker.

Fatal incident at a Henderson County construction site captured by security footage. Courtesy of Carolina Public Press.

One of the seriously injured workers, Magno Alberto Valdez Sanchez, is one of our firm's clients. As we specialize in workers' compensation and wrongful death cases, Attorney John McCabe explained to Carolina Public Press that he has seen many cases where construction leadership fails to properly assess safety at the site. Instead of taking precautions, they wait until a worker is seriously injured or killed before calling in an engineer.

"Why don’t they do it on the front end?" McCabe said to Carolina Public Press. "They’re trying to cut corners."

Legal representatives like John McCabe are advocating for stronger safety measures at construction sites and questioning the lack of proactive safety assessments by employers. McCabe emphasizes the importance of prioritizing safety over cost-cutting measures.

The article also sheds light on the alarming rate of construction worker fatalities in North Carolina, with nearly 60 deaths reported between January 2021 and September 2023. Construction consistently ranks as the industry with the highest number of fatalities in the state over the past 14 years, totaling over 250 deaths since 2009.

It highlights the disproportionate impact on Latino workers, who represent over 25% of workplace fatalities despite comprising only 10% of the state's population. The issue is attributed to their overrepresentation in the construction sector.

The article discusses the challenges faced by the North Carolina Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSH) in enforcing safety regulations and imposing penalties on violators. While penalties have increased, negotiations and appeals often result in reduced fines for violators.

Despite efforts to improve safety, construction remains a hazardous industry. Jacob Garmon of the Carolinas AGC emphasizes the importance of proactive safety measures and collaboration between contractors and government agencies to prevent accidents.

The case underscores the need for enhanced safety protocols and enforcement to protect construction workers and prevent future tragedies.

To read the full article, click here.

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