Not an “accident”: Ascencion Medina, 44 suffers fatal work-related injury in Greenville, SC

Ascencion Molina Medina, 44, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Thursday, July 30, 2015 while working at a construction site in Greenville, SC. Greenville On-line reports:

  • Medina “lost his footing” and fell about 30 feet, according to the county coroner. He died several hours later at the local hospital.
  • The construction project is a new mixed use development called Main + Stone which will house residential and retail properties. The Beach Company is the developer and the project broke ground in late 2014.
  • The general contractor of the Main + Stone development is Yeargin Potter Shackelford Construction.

WYFF4 reports:

  • The deputy county coroner said: "’It's our understanding that a safety harness -- he had unhooked himself -- and was moving locations.’"

The remark "unhooked himself" sounds like blaming the victim before having the facts. We don't know what fall protection systems were in place at the construction site, whether Mr. Medina was given the proper equipment, whether he was trained to use it properly, or the reason he may have unhooked himself.

Ascencion Molina Medina was a subcontractor on the project, but I’ve not yet been able to identify the name of his employer.

Each year, dozens of workers in South Carolina are fatally injured on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 75 work-related fatal injuries in South Carolina during 2013 (most recent data available.) Nationwide, at least 4,545 workers suffered fatal traumatic injuries in 2013.

The AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report notes:

  • South Carolina-OSHA has 22 inspectors to cover more than 101,000 workplaces.
  • The average penalty for a serious violation in South Carolina is $521. The average penalty for citations related to a work-related fatality occurring in South Carolina is $1,912.

SC-OSHA has until the end of January 2016 to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole Ascencion Molina Medina’s life. It’s likely they’ll determine that his death was preventable. It was no “accident.”

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