death of a construction workerA construction worker’s death in 2008 which led to a multimillion dollar lawsuit, has recently been settled. Romulo de Oliveira Santos, 47 at the time, was on his first night on the Walpole Walmart renovation job. Another construction worker was cutting live electrical wires which caused Santos to be electrocuted.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration later cited two subcontractors for exposing workers to electrical hazards. Walmart was not cited. Santos’s family, however, sued Walmart, along with the company’s subcontractors, for $5 million, alleging amongst other things, that Romulo’s death was part of a pattern of unsafe practices at Walmart construction sites (source: The Boston Globe).

The case, settled in February, was never made public. “It’s emotional,” said Santos’s 75-year-old mother, Maria Jose Santos, speaking through an interpreter. “Justice has been made.”

Walmart released a statement saying that it relied on Texas-based Kekoka Construction, to oversee the Walpole job. “We take safety seriously, and when Walmart hired Kekoka Construction as a general contractor, which is common within the construction industry, we relied on Kekoka to manage all aspects of the construction project,” said spokesman Randy Hargrove. “This included hiring all subcontractors, ensuring safe working conditions onsite, and confirming proper licensing of any subcontractors and workers.” (Source: The Boston Globe)

Construction worker deaths while on a job rose 5% in 2012. According to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 775 workplace deaths in the private construction industry last year, compared with 738 in 2011.

Brian Turmail, a spokesperson for Associated General Contractors of America says: “One of the things that we have been noticing is that the construction spending rates have been going up faster than employment numbers, in terms of percentage, so perhaps the [fatality] rate is up because you’ve got a comparable number of workers doing more work than they were a year ago.”

All deaths leave a family emotionally distraught, but when caused by the negligence of another, that family deserves that justice be served. Attorney Jim Brady and Associates, P.C. has over twenty eight years of experience in work related death cases. Please call us at: 508-660-8888 or visit us on the web at: