More construction companies ask for OSHA training after deadly scaffolding collapse

CHARLOTTE — After a scaffolding collapse took the lives of three construction workers in early January, there’s a new focus on safety at construction sites.

Charlotte’s growth isn’t slowing down any time soon -- you can see buildings going up almost everywhere in the city.

In one massive subdivision in Steele Creek, dozens of crew members were working Monday to complete thousands of homes.


There was a lot going on at the construction site, with crews and equipment stationed all over the property. With all that activity, experts say it’s important to keep safety top of mind.

“That’s the main job, to make sure these guys get the job done but in a safe manner,” Trevin Burleson said.

Burleson is the superior supervisor over the project. His crews face all sorts of challenges, from weather to looming deadlines. But he said nothing trumps safety, so that’s why his crews are getting a refresher course on it. It’s led by Patricio Lopez, a trainer with The Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“We tailor the material for the needs of the group itself,” Lopez said.

The focus right now is mainly on preventing falls, since many of the crews work 30 feet in the air or higher while wielding and fastening heavy material. Each worker must be strapped in, secured, and able to repel in case they do stumble off.

“Gravity doesn’t forget anybody, OK?” Lopez said.

Lopez said numerous construction companies were asking for this training. Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura was present for just one of seven training sessions scheduled Monday.

Lopez told him the demand was in response to the tragic scaffolding collapse in Uptown Charlotte earlier this month, which killed three workers when they fell from a height of 70 feet.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls are the leading cause of death in the industry, accounting for more than 350 deaths nationwide in 2020. Burleson said the industry should be proactive across the board, now and always.

“That’s why we have to keep enforcing safety,” Burleson said. “If they do fall, it’s going to catch them before the impact hits them,” he said about the harnesses.

Channel 9 asked if the construction workers who died in Uptown were wearing harnesses when the scaffolding collapsed. So far, we have not heard back, but OSHA’s investigation could take up to six months to complete.

(WATCH BELOW: Friends, brothers, fathers: The men who died in the Dilworth scaffolding collapse)