News 4 Nashville reported that a construction worker died Tuesday, June 23, 2020 afternoon after falling from scaffolding at a work site. According to Metro Police the construction worker was identified as 16 year old Gustavo Enrique Ramirez from Springfield, Tennessee.
We further understand that Metro Police say the 16 year old victim and his 18-year-old brother were on the scaffolding together. The brother reported that he had his back to Mr. Ramirez, heard a sound, then turned around to see his brother fall. The scaffolding was reported to be approximately 120 feet from the ground equal to a fall from a 12 story building. Metro Police said Mr. Ramirez was a part-time employee at Cortez Plastering. The project is a new hotel.
It was further reported by the news media that Metro detectives did not find a safety harness on Ramirez or on the scaffolding a device which may have saved this young man’s life.
This tragedy underscores the high risk and dangers facing construction site workers. Even more so the question should be asked why was a 16 year old regardless of gender conducting this dangerous work. Is it sufficient to be physically fit, or do we need as a society to implement minimum age limits for high risk work?
There is much we do not know about this case including safety training especially in the use of fall protection devices. Was Mr. Ramirez afforded such training? If he was, why was a harness not used? Was there a failure in the proper installation of scaffold guardrails?
This story does not have a happy ending because a young life was cut sort before it had a chance to even start. Hopefully lessons can be learned.