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Worker killed after ceiling collapse at Texas site

One 28-year-old worker and two others were injured recently after the ceiling of a vacant building in Texas collapsed in Tarrant County. The building was under construction when the accident happened at about 9 a.m. July 10.

The incident occurred as first-floor demolition work was being done in the building on Haltom City's Airport Freeway. The nearly 57,000 square-foot building reportedly had a 20-foot-high ceiling.

According to the proprietor of a business next door, other workers were tearing the building up in the months preceding the incident. Reportedly, a company that restores buildings, Blackmon Mooring, bought it and was in the process of remodeling it to use as corporate headquarters. A general contractor was handling the job, and the worker was employed by a subcontractor.

The building and six acres next to it was bought on foreclosure. According to reports, it was used as a warehouse in the past, and about 25 percent of the second floor collapsed when the worker was struck. His body was removed from the rubble by rescue workers, and he was pronounced dead at 9:30 a.m. Two other workers suffered minor injuries and refused treatment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and structural engineers are investigating the accident. No further work will continue until the building is considered safe for workers, according to a company representative.

When an employee is killed in the workplace, his or her family may be eligible to file for workers' compensation death benefits in Texas. As in this case, even part-time workers or subcontractors may be covered. In this case, it might be beneficial for the decedent's family to consult an attorney who may review OSHA's final reports to see if there was negligence involved. If so, the attorney may help the family decide whether to file a wrongful death suit in lieu of a workers' compensation claim.

Source: Firehouse, "Worker Killed in Ceiling Collapse in Texas Building", Domingo Ramirez Jr and Dustin L. Dangli, July 12, 2014

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