Construction company fined $20K months after worker died in fall from elevator

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — OSHA has issued fines against a construction company after a man fell 19 stories to his death at a building site in uptown Charlotte earlier this year.

The North Carolina Department of Labor has cited Gilbane Building Company for safety violations after their employee, Juventino Mata-Hernandez, died when he fell out of an elevator in May.

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Channel 9 learned that Gilbane Building Company is required to pay $20,300 in fines in connection with the 24-year-old’s death.

The investigation found that the company had four serious violations. Two of them dealt with the company failing to provide a site free from hazards likely to cause death, serious injury, or serious physical harm.

Mata-Hernandez fell from a building that was under construction. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Officials said safety violations include a bridging device not being secured to a hoist, mechanical issues with the hoist and the employer not maintaining programs for inspections.

The company told Channel 9 reporter Tina Terry that employee safety is a priority and that they are working with the state as the process moves forward.

Tommy Hill manages a local union that helps hundreds of construction workers. He said he’s saddened by the Department of Labor report.

“Everybody wants to go to work, earn a living and come home safe,” Hill said.

Charlotte ranks fifth in the nation for downtown office construction. Hill said that growth keeps people working but can also lead to unsafe conditions.

“Everything nowadays is fast track, which don’t help safety,” Hill said.

Channel 9 learned the Department of Labor has investigated four construction deaths in Charlotte since 2017. In every case, OSHA issued citations related to those deaths.

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