The North Carolina Department of Labor has cut the fine for a company that it found to have violated safety regulations in a 2015 scaffolding accident that left three men dead.
Anderson Antones de Almeida and Jose Erasmo Hernandez of Durham, as well as Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez of Clinton, died on March 23, 2015, after scaffolding collapsed while they were working on the 11-story Charter Square building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.
Families of the men retained attorneys with Edwards Kirby, the law firm of former U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards. In a 2016 statement, Edwards described the accident as “a tragedy that never should have occurred.”
The Department of Labor initially charged Associated Scaffolding $151,900 for its role in the accident after finding that company workers didn’t follow manufacturer recommendations when tying the scaffolding to the building and put too much weight on the scaffolding while dismantling it, The N&O reported in January 2016.
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The Durham-based company contested the allegations and on April 18 reached a settlement with the labor department to pay a $70,000 fine and make “a number of safety and health enhancements that will be implemented to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” said Mary Katherine Revels, a department spokeswoman.
The company paid the fine on May 9, she said in an email. Concord-based companies Janna Wall and Juba Aluminum Products also were fined $4,200 apiece by the department. Those companies paid their fines Aug. 29.
Neither Associated Scaffolding nor Edwards Kirby could immediately be reached for comment.