Workers Defense, OSHA investigating after death at East Austin job site

This photo from the Workers Defense Project shows a worker in a potentially dangerous situation.

AUSTIN (KXAN) – On Tuesday, labor groups held a vigil for 28-year-old Ramiro Loa, a construction worker who died late last month. Loa fell three stories from the Eastside Station Apartments on East 4th street.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirms the incident is under investigation. More importantly, The Workers Defense Project wants to do whatever it can to make sure accidents like this don’t happen again.

As Christian Hurtado prepared to honor 28-year-old Ramiro Loa he couldn’t help but think about the day he lost his father 11 years ago. His father was working construction in west Austin when he fell and died. To this day Christian says it was because of unsafe working conditions.

“From that time until now I haven’t seen any change in construction,” said Hurtado. “The structure wasn’t secure. It was still moving around. It was completely unsafe. Why was he doing this?”

Similar working conditions those with the Workers Defense Project say Ramiro was in. He was working on a site in east Austin when he fell.

“We went back and interviewed workers on the site and they didn’t even know one of their colleagues had died and even more tragic we found another worker working in the same conditions Ramiro was in when he passed away,” said Brigid Hall with The Workers Defense Project.

OSHA won’t comment that claim but does tell KXAN they are investigating the project’s developers, Maverick Framing and Flournoy Construction, regarding this fatality.

“What we see is that these deaths keep happening over and over again and the appropriate oversight is not happening to make sure construction workers are safe,” said Hall

KXAN did reach out to Flournoy Construction and was told they had no comment.

The Workers Defense Project claims Texas is the deadliest state for construction workers. We checked it out and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 116 construction workers were killed on the job in 2013 in Texas. That’s more than any other state. Even California, with 12 million more people had only half as many construction deaths. Still when you take population fully into account, Texas is the 6th deadliest state. Texas is far behind North Dakota per capita which had 11 deaths that year.

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