Seasonal Roof Worker Killed in Colorado Workplace Fall

Aug 21, 2014 | WC & Other Laws

A seasoned roof worker was recently killed on the job after falling to his death 20 feet from a fire escape in Colorado Springs, as reported by The Gazette. He is 41-year old Pedro Carreño Arrazola, an employee of Weathercraft Roofing Company for more than a decade already.

His employer, Weathercraft President John Fleming, said that victim Pedro Arrazola and other workers were inspecting a roof at around 1 p.m. As per instruction from the supervisor, they accessed the roof via the building’s old fire escape. As Arrazola was on the last set of stairs to come down, the cable snapped resulting to the fall. The victim’s body struck a metal stairwell and likely suffered fatal injuries before finally landing in the building alley.

This incident raises some questions regarding the liability for the work-related death of victim Arrazola. Who can be made liable for such an accident? Surely, it couldn’t have been the victim’s lack of skill for his experience on the job is unquestionable. Is it Arrazola’s employer, Weathercraft, or the building’s owner who could have been negligent in maintaining the soundness of the fire escape?

An OSHA spokesperson said that an investigation is underway but refused to give any further information. Details that may be looked into include the use of safety gear during the accident. They may also look into the negligence with regard to the instruction to use the fire escape.

Aside from that, negligence surrounding the structural soundness of the fire escape may also be examined. Colorado Springs Fire Marshall Brett Lacey said that there are no statutory laws that mandate a regular inspection of fire escapes. While the victim’s employer is not expected to have any control over the condition of the fire escape, the building owners may be held liable for, under the law, they have the responsibility to maintain fire escapes in their property in “good working order” and are to make sure that these are “clear of obstructions”.

In Colorado, work-related falls are among the most common. Under the Workers’ Compensation Law of Colorado, the employers’ insurance covers all employees for any injury or injuries that “arise out of and in the course and scope of employment”. Meanwhile, the usual compensation for a killed worker is death benefits for the dependents of the deceased victim. A wrongful death lawsuit may also ensue, if the death was caused by gross negligence.

Workplace falls and other serious accidents can be overwhelming.

If you have suffered an injury while at work and are unsure of what to do, or if you want to know more about workers’ compensation benefits, consult a workers’ compensation attorney now. Kaplan Morrell’s attorneys have been helping employees with their compensation-related concerns for more than 15 years. Call us at 303-780-7329. Trust only the best and experienced. Contact us today and stand up for your right!