1 person dead, 2 injured after construction accident in North Raleigh

Emergency crews respond to construction accident in Raleigh

One person is dead and two others are injured after a construction accident Tuesday near the Triangle Town Center mall. (No audio)
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One person is dead and two others are injured after a construction accident Tuesday near the Triangle Town Center mall. (No audio)

One worker died and two others were injured when a trench collapsed at a North Raleigh construction site Tuesday.

The accident happened about 11 a.m. at 611 Triangle Town Boulevard, the site of a planned 382-unit apartment complex near the Triangle Town Center mall, according to Harold K. Jordan & Company.

The man who died worked for Vertical Walls, a sub-contractor on the project, according to HKJ, the Apex-based construction firm that is building the complex.

Authorities have not released the name of the man who died, or the names of the workers who were injured.

At the time of the accident, workers were “preparing an area where a retaining wall that was being built for a stormwater retention pond and excavating for wall construction,” HKJ said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to this worker’s family and all those involved with the accident that occurred today,” said Hal Jordan, president and founder of Harold K. Jordan & Company. “Our number one priority is to always offer the safest workplace possible for our employees and subcontractors.

Vertical Walls, a Raleigh company, specializes in building retaining walls. The company says on its website that it has done work throughout the East Coast since 1999.

The company does not have a history of safety violations, said Mary Katherine Revels, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Labor.

The labor department is investigating Tuesday’s accident. An investigation can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months, officials said.

Harold K. Jordan & Company said in a statement Tuesday that it hired Honeycutt Construction Services to clear, grade and pave the site ahead of construction. Honeycutt hired Vertical Walls as a sub-contractor.

Labor officials have received one complaint about Honeycutt, according to records filed with the with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. An inquiry was closed the same day it began, and the company was not forced to pay a fine.

The state labor department issued 14 violations against Harold K. Jordan & Company during five inspections between 2009 and 2017, according to public records. Some of the violations were considered “serious,” such as not having proper protections in place when workers use scaffolding.

In February 2016, the state said the company violated a rule that says workers must be protected from possible cave-ins at excavations “by an adequate protective system.”

In its statement Tuesday, the company said a “safety consultant” with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration visited the site in November “to ensure that HKJ was in compliance with all current safety standards.”

“HKJ requires all of its subcontractors to adhere to all federal and state safety standards,” the company said.

‘We just feel awful’

Raleigh officials in late 2017 approved the apartment-complex project, called the Raleigh Piedmont, according to documents filed with the city’s planning department.

Doug Smolev, a managing partner on the project, said he learned about the construction accident early Tuesday afternoon.

We just feel awful,” he said. “I’m waiting to get more information.”