The state is investigating three companies involved in a construction project in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood where a worker fell to his death Sunday.
James Dale Leece, 54, of Tampa, Fla., was on a ladder on a fifth-floor balcony at 1616 Camden Road when he fell, according to a preliminary report from the N.C. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division.
The building has been under construction since last October at Camden Road and West Kingston Avenue, next to Price’s Chicken Coop.
Leece was found in front of the building, which Beacon Properties is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year. Clothes and a piece of rope lay nearby.
Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Division are focusing primarily on what caused the fall and whether OSH standards were violated, Neal O’Briant, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Labor, said this week.
The investigators are looking into whether three companies working at the site followed state standards, O’Briant said: Florida-based Leau Enterprises Inc., which employed Leece; Waynco Roofing of Matthews; and Edifice Inc. of Charlotte.
“On construction sites, it is normal for the OSH Division to open inspections not only with the employer of the victim but also the general contractor and any subcontractors whose employees may have been exposed to the hazard,” O’Briant said in an email to the Observer.
Typically, fatality inspections take three to four months, he said. By state law, the division has up to six months from the date of an incident to issue citations for any violations of OSH standards, he said.
Leau Enterprises Inc. has had no OSHA violations.
Waynco Roofing LLC has logged five OSHA violations since 2006, according to federal records. The company was fined twice in 2013 - once for a serious health violation and later for repeated safety violations. Combined, the fines totaled $7,700, though investigators settled for $5,100.
Edifice Inc. was fined twice since 2011, records show. The company’s most recent violation came in March, when investigators fined Ediface $600 for health concerns.
Specifics about the violations were unknown.
In deaths involving falls from ladders, investigators consider such factors as whether the ladders were in good condition, whether the ladders were inspected frequently and whether employees were trained in hazards associated with ladder use. The state also checks whether a safety program, including ladder safety, was developed.
The nearly complete building where Leece died is 76,000 square feet wrapped around a parking deck. When completed, it will include a fitness center and about 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Accounting firm BGW plans to take 12,000 square feet on the top floor.
In July, a man who worked for a siding contractor fell 14 feet to his death while working on a house in Ballantyne.