According to the Haines City Police Department, the collapse occurred just after 10 a.m. on January 17 at the site of a retail center near the intersection of Davenport Boulevard and U.S. 27. The construction worker who was killed was identified as 49-year-old Martin Loera of Bartow.
Investigators said Loera was grievously hurt after a concrete block wall fell on top of him. Responding officers attempted life-saving procedures before Loera was rushed to an area hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
“Loera was critically injured when a wall collapsed at the site for a retail center, east of U.S. 27,” a Haines City Police Department spokesperson said. “Officers arrived and began life-saving procedures.”
Agents from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were reportedly on the scene to investigate. It is unclear what caused the concrete wall to collapse.
Reports indicate that the number of construction fatalities in Florida has risen by 140 percent in the past seven years because of a building boom. Just a week before Loera’s death, another construction worker was injured after a wall form toppled on top of him at a 30-story, 2-tower building project on 550 Quadrille Boulevard in West Palm Beach.
West Palm Beach officials said the accident occurred on the 13th floor of the building. A wall form into which concrete was being poured fell on top of an unnamed worker. The worker was taken to an area hospital and is reportedly in stable condition.
OSHA is investigating the incident. The agency hasn’t yet issued a preliminary determination of the cause of the accident.
OSHA’s website states that nearly 6.5 million people work at over 250,000 construction sites across the U.S. on any given day. The death rate for accidents in construction is higher than the national average for industries overall.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 101 construction fatalities were reported in 2018, up from 78 in 2017 and 2016. 68 in 2015 and 63 in 2014. Falls, slips, and trips were responsible for almost half of all the fatalities recorded in 2018.
Like most states, Florida has a workers’ compensation system that guarantees disability and medical benefits to injured workers, and helps to ensure the worker’s return to employment at a reasonable cost to the employer.
Through workers’ compensation insurance, an injured employee is entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and death benefits for their family in the event the worker is killed while on the job.
It is important for injured workers to consult a lawyer who is versed in Florida’s workers’ compensation system. An experienced attorney can lay out your options and help you obtain your full benefits.
South Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you or your loved one was injured due to a workplace accident, you should hire an attorney. Contact Brian Silber, P.A. for a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced workers’ compensation defense attorneys.