Worker’s death at demolition site a “freak accident”?

Cirilo Banuelos Reyes, 50, fell to his death on February 14 at a demolition site in Lanett, Alabama. Roy Granger, his employer and owner of Regeneration LLC told WRBL:

“It was a very sad, sad situation and accident.  ….This was just a freak accident that happened here.“

Reyes was working on the fourth floor of the abandoned, 100-year old West Point Stevens Mill. Lanett police report that Reyes was removing wood floor boards when a section of flooring gave way. The worker fell four stories and later succumb to his severe injuries.

Granger described Reyes as a

“great worker.  …he had worked for me for 12 years. …He was an excellent, good-nature person.”

“We’ve always tried to comply with state and federal laws,” Granger told the press. “We’ve got the proper guidelines…”

OSHA was at the scene shortly after the fatal incident. I suspect they’ll determine that certain safety regulations were not followed and the company’s guidelines were not effective.

OSHA’s compliance assistance information about demolition notes that this type of work involves many of the same hazards associated with construction. But demolition projects also come with additional hazards which make the work particularly dangerous. These may include structural modifications that altered the original building design or weaknesses in the aging construction materials used in the building.

 

Regeneration’s owner told WRBL

“we’ll probably go back to work real soon.”

Rather than getting back to business as usual, it’d be wise for him to determine why an engineer didn’t foresee the floor was prone to collapse. “Freak accidents” are often not that at all.