JW Marriott Fall Accident Shows There’s Always A Risk In Construction
The construction industry is one that’s full of contradictions. It is absolutely one of the most critical industries in Florida, and the USA because things need to get built. At the same time, however, it is also one of the higher risk industries to get involved in because, of course, those involved are putting themselves in danger to create the safe environments that others will eventually get to enjoy.
Nowhere is this more apparent in recent days than the tragic accident that happened in the Orlando area, as work was underway to create more tourist options for the Disney World area.
A Double Loss
Surrounded by the Disney World resort area, though not actually a part of it, the JW Marriott Orlando Double Creek Resort is planned to be another addition for travelers looking into recreational stays in the area. The project is still under construction, with many people hard at work to create more world-class facilities for people to rest, relax and enjoy themselves at, but on August 29th, the tragic happened.
Two workers, operating on some scaffolding, fell to their deaths when the scaffolding collapsed. A third narrowly avoided the same fate, but managed to hold on, and was eventually assisted by other workers, and managed to \return to the ground uninjured.
However, the fact remains that two highly professional workers lost their lives in an accident that shouldn’t have happened. The scaffolding was, obviously, set in place to provide more structural reinforcement, so why would it suddenly collapse?
The Investigation Begins
Of course, with the incident being so recent, there are no concrete answers as of yet that explain exactly what happened. And getting to the bottom of the incident, documenting events, and finding causes is going to be the most important goal as the investigation continues. The reason for this is simple; accountability.
In this case, it’s quite clear from the incident that the two workers that fell to their deaths are unlikely to be at fault. The scaffolding that collapsed literally from under their feet should not have done that. If it had happened after the building had been completed, it could have been catastrophic and led to the collapse of the entire building. If guests had been in the building at the time, the loss of life would have been tragic.
So the first order of business will be for the investigation to understand exactly why the scaffolding did not function as intended and then assign fault.
Workers Have Rights
This also means that there will need to be a reckoning to decide how best to compensate the families of the workers that lost their lives in the accident. In cases where workers are injured, workers compensation is usually allotted as the workers recover from their injuries, to allow them to continue to support their families even if they are currently unable to work.
However, in this case, the accident didn’t just injure people, it resulted in a loss of life. This means that workers compensation death benefits are likely to be in the cards here, since the workers clearly lost their lives while on the job.
It is important for every worker to understand his or her rights, especially in more heavily organized—even un-ionized—jobs such as construction or manufacturing. If a worker sustains an injury while on the job, and the worker is clearly not at fault for that injury, this isn’t just a matter of “learning to live with it.”
Every employer has a legal mandate to maintain a safe working environment for employees. That can be environmental, such as ensuring that toxic fumes in a factory are safely vented, so that employees don’t breathe it in on a daily basis. Or it can be in terms of work practices, by making sure that proper equipment is used, and all safety protocols are observed.
If it is proven, in the ongoing investigation, that the two workers died because of management negligence, or poor work practices that were tolerated in the interests of speed or convenience that is illegal. And the surviving families can expect legal experts to side with them on the basis of a workplace injury, or maybe even wrongful death, depending on the investigation results.