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Three North Carolina workers die when scaffolding collapses

Three Durham construction workers were killed and one was injured when a section of scaffolding they were on fell from a downtown Raleigh skyscraper on March 23. The incident occurred at around 11 a.m. at the Charter Square construction site.

Authorities said the men were on a piece of equipment known as a mast climber scaffold, which carries workers up and down a building's facade, when it suddenly plummeted to the street below. A witness who called 911 estimated the rigging fell about 200 feet. Three men were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth worker was discovered alive but barely responsive on a crushed portable toilet stall. He was transported to WakeMed Hospital where he was later listed in fair condition. All four workers were reportedly wearing safety harnesses, but they were attached to the scaffolding that fell.

According to Associated Scaffolding, the subcontractor that employed the workers, the mast climber was being disassembled when it gave way. A representative of the building's general contractor, Choate Construction Company, said Associated Scaffolding's sole business at the construction site was erecting and dismantling scaffolding. Records from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show the subcontractor was twice cited for serious safety violations in North Carolina within the past 10 years. The North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating the incident.

Most workers who are injured in construction accidents are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance. As such, they may file a claim seeking benefits that pay for medical expenses and a portion of any lost wages. Likewise, the family of a worker who is killed on the job may file a claim seeking death benefits. Some may find it helpful to work with an attorney while preparing their claim.

Source: ABC News, "3 Dead in Scaffolding Collapse at Downtown Raleigh High-Rise," Jonathan Drew and Michael Biesecker, Associated Press, March 23, 2015

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