Not an “accident”: Jose Alfredo Isagirrez-Mejia, 29 suffers fatal work-related injury at construction site in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

By | 2018-01-22T20:32:45+00:00 July 23rd, 2014|1 Comment

[Updated below (9/5/14)]

Jose Alfredo Isagirrez-Mejia, 29, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Monday, July 21 while working at a construction site in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The incident occurred on a $15 million project managed by Miller Construction Company. It’s the future site of a BMW/MINI dealership and service complex.

Local10.com reports the following about the incident:

  • a ceiling roof beam “came crashing down”
  • three workers were lowering the beam in place with a crane. “Something went wrong and it struck all three workers.”

The Sun-Sentinel reports:

  • a carpenter who was an eye-witness to the events said a crane was lowering a joist when a support gave way and knocked the men off a ladder and scaffolding
  • the incident occurred shortly before 8 a.m.
  • this is the sixth work-related fatal injury death in Broward County, Florida since June 1

The news accounts don’t indicate whether Jose Alfredo Isagirrez-Mejia, 29, was employed by Miller Construction Company or one of their subcontractors.

Describing the project, the firm’s website says:

  • the $15 million three-story facility will include 59 service bays and 3 alignment bays
  • the firm “is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the tilt-wall construction project from its earliest stages.”

OSHA will conduct a post-fatality inspection of the construction site. If the agency’s inspectors identify violations of health safety regulations, the company will be cited.

OSHA’s on-line inspection data suggest that Miller Construction Company was subject to one OSHA inspection in the last 10 years. At a project in Boca Raton, Florida, the firm received citations in April 2007 for two serious and one other-than-serious violations.  The serious violations involved inadequate fall protection and hazards in their concrete-masonry construction activities which posed a risk to workers of being impaled on protruding steel. Miller Construction and OSHA settled the case and the company paid a $3,432 penalty.

Each year, more than 200 workers in Florida are fatally injured on-the-job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 218 work-related fatalities in Florida during 2012 (most recent available data.) Nationwide, at least 4,628 workers suffer fatal traumatic injuries in 2012.

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

  • Federal OSHA has 60 inspectors in Florida to cover more than 490,000 workplaces.
  • The average penalty for a serious violation in Florida is $1,821.

Federal OSHA has until mid-January to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole Jose Alfredo Isagirrez-Mejia’s life.  It’s likely they’ll determine that the safety program of Miller Construction Company and/or their subcontractors was inadequate, and that Isagirrez-Mejia’s death was preventable. It was no “accident.”

[Update 9/4/2014: OSHA records indicate the employer’s name is Structural Prestressed Industries, Inc.  The company has been the subject of one scheduled OSHA inspection in each of the years 2011-2014. The inspections in 2011 and 2012 resulted in two violations (one serious, one other-than-serios) and the firm paid $3,521 in penalties.]

About the Author:

Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH
Celeste Monforton is a fellow in the Collegium Ramazzini; a lecturer at Texas State University; and professorial lecturer at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. She receives funding from the Public Welfare Foundation.

One Comment

  1. Joe Worker March 23, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    WOW 60 federal OSHA inspectors and 490,000 businesses in Florida … NO Wonder !

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