41-year-old John T. Johnson, of Du Pont, was killed in a construction accident at a Brookhaven water tower Wednesday, July 24, 2014.
According to WTVM News, Mr. Johnson, an employee of Southeast Tank and Tower, was contracted to sandblast and repaint a Brookhaven water tower on Ingram Street. Mr. Johnson was working with a water tower renovation crew, 70-90 feet above ground, when he fell from scaffolding. Emergency crews transported Mr. Johnson to King’s Daughters Medical Center, where he succumbed to injuries.
Our Legal Take
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and The Murray Law Firm are now questioning what factors, such as faulty scaffolding, loose cables or frayed safety harnesses, may have played a role in this tragedy:
What type of scaffolding was in place? Did this scaffolding meet CDC and OSHA safety standards? When were the scaffolding, cables and safety holds last inspected? Were fall prevention platforms and emergency safety harnesses in place to prevent falls? Was Mr. Johnson wearing a lifeline harness and, if so, did the harness break or fail at the time of the fall? Did spacing between scaffolding rungs meet government requirements?
Should a catastrophic equipment failure have contributed to this tragedy, the family of Mr. Johnson may elect to hold the equipment owner and manufacturer civilly liable in his wrongful death. Additionally, as Mr. Johnson was working at the time of his death, his family is almost certainly entitled to significant workers’ compensation benefits per Georgia law. Claims of this magnitude will, most importantly, demand that Southeast Tank and Tower and the entire water tower industry re-evaluate safety equipment, training and procedures. Perhaps, through these claims, many other lives may be spared.
Photographs and a thorough, unbiased inspection of all equipment will need to be performed before any evidence may be repaired, damaged or destroyed. As such, the Johnson family should seek an experienced workers’ compensation and product liability firm without delay to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected.
The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims and families of catastrophic work accidents, such as this, and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 912.385.9690.