The Austin Chronicle

Death on the Job

By Amy Kamp, July 14, 2015, 10:15am, Newsdesk

On Monday, June 29, 28-year-old Ramiro Loa fell to his death while working on the construction of the Eastside Station Apartments.

Tonight at 8pm, July 14, Workers Defense Project will hold a vigil for Loa at the site.

The apartment complex, which is slated to be completed later this year, is located near Plaza Saltillo at 1700 E. Fourth, and is owned by Georgia-based Flournoy Properties. Loa was employed by contractor Maverick Framing.

Loa, who was working on a third-story balcony, was standing on top of a sawhorse when he fell. According to WDP Development Director Brigid Hall, Loa had no health insurance and no workers’ comp insurance. WDP learned of Loa’s death from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration report (OSHA’s investigation into Loa’s death remains open). When WDP visited the site to speak with other workers, they discovered many did not know one of their own had died while on the job. WDP also witnessed another worker engaged in the same unsafe practice that led to Loa’s fall (see photo).

OSHA safety regulations require employers to provide their workers with the appropriate safety gear, but it’s common practice for the responsibility to be illegally pushed onto the workers themselves, Hall said. A representative for Flournoy told the Chronicle that the company does not comment on open investigations. For more on this story, see this week’s issue of the Chronicle, on stands Thursday, July 16.

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