Builder fined in elevator shaft fatality

A man died during the construction of a C&O Row house, falling down an unsecured elevator shaft.
staff photo A man died during the construction of a C&O Row house, falling down an unsecured elevator shaft. staff photo

Early July 25, Albemarle police responded to an industrial accident at Yancey Lumber in Crozet, where employee Floriberta Macedo-Diaz, 46, of Waynesboro, died of her injuries.

Macedo-Diaz isn’t the only workplace fatality in the region. In June, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry finished its investigation into a job-related death last fall, and fined two companies more than $18,000 for safety violations.

Carlos Alfaro was looking at the ceiling on the top floor of a C&O Row house and following the sprinkler lines to attach sprinkler heads when he opened the door to what appeared to be a closet and fell five floors down an elevator shaft to his death last October 17, according to a labor department report.

Alfaro, 31, was a North Chesterfield resident employed by Liberty Fire Solutions, which was installing sprinklers at the $1 million home at 1073 E. Water St.

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry initially cited Salem-based Liberty Fire Solutions $4,560 for not having some-
one trained in first aid at the site and $12,471 for failure to provide adequate fall protection. Those penalties were reduced and Liberty paid $9,500. Its CEO, Randy Young, did not return a call from C-VILLE Weekly.

Also fined was builder Evergreen LLC for not having fall protection systems in place. The labor department originally issued a citation for $12,471. Evergreen—through Eggc LLC—paid a $8,730 penalty, according to Department of Labor and Industry documents. Evergreen president and owner Whit Graves did not return calls from C-VILLE.

However, in a labor department narrative of events, Graves told investigators that the sprinkler work was scheduled for October 23 and the Liberty Fire Solutions employees arrived almost a week early.

During an inspection of the site after the fatal 45-foot fall, investigators saw doors that had been installed on the elevator shaft with no hardware and could be opened by wind traveling up the shaft, according to the report.

The normal procedure was to nail boards across the opening of the shaft, but after Alfaro’s fall, the boards were not there and Graves told inspectors he didn’t know when they were removed, according to the state report.

The Department of Labor and Industry recommended a “serious fatality-related citation” for both companies.