Three companies to pay $84,000 in fines for 2015 Raleigh scaffolding accident

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The accident scene in 2015 (WRAL-TV)

Three companies will pay a total of $84,000 in fines for violations related to a deadly 2015 scaffolding accident in Raleigh that killed three workers and seriously injured a fourth.

The state levied the biggest fine against Associated Scaffolding for the most serious violations, WRAL-TV reported. The fines were initially set at $152,000, but the company challenged the penalty and a judge reduced the amount owed to $70,000.

The other companies, Jannawall and Juba Aluminum, each paid their $4,200 fines but, as part of the settlement, the labor department changed the violation from serious to “other,” the broadcaster reported.

Jose Erasmo Hernandez, 41, and Anderson Almeida, 33, of Durham, with Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez, 33, of Clinton, fell to their deaths March 23, 2015, at the Charter Square construction site at South and Fayetteville streets. Elmer Guevara, 53, was treated for serious injuries.

While the safety violation case has been closed, a lawsuit is still pending by Guevera and the three victims’ families against several companies associated with the project.

That lawsuit alleges general contractor Choate Construction rushed the scaffold dismantling, which forced Associated Scaffolding, Inc. to load sections of the scaffolding as it was taken down onto the platform with the workers. The platform was supposed to hold no more than 2,500 pounds, but it was carrying more than 4,200 pounds when it fell, the lawsuit asserts.

The men, and part of the platform they were standing on, fell several stories when one of the tracks snapped off the scaffold while it was being dismantled, WRAL-TV reported.

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