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TOSHA investigating Nashville construction site after worker dies

The State of Tennessee is looking for violations at a Nashville construction site after a worker fell to his death over the weekend.

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is just three days into its investigation to find out what went wrong, and inspectors say it will take them six to eight weeks to put together a full report.

"So far, for the entire state of Tennessee, there have been 21 workplace fatalities, and of those, 10 of them are related to the construction industry," says Chris Cannon, the spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The latest death happened Saturday at a construction site on 11th Avenue North where Solis North Gulch apartments will sit.

Fausto Flores, 42, was cutting a wooden handrail when he fell from the fourth floor and died. 

According to his coworker, Electrician Tim Maiz, Flores was a hardworking man with a family. 

"He worked hard He was here every day on time. What can you say? He was just a hardworking man trying to make a living," Maiz said.

News4's Briona Arradondo discovered Construction Enterprises of Franklin is the contractor in charge of the site, so she started looking for answers and learned TOSHA inspectors are investigating whether the company followed safety standards.  

So what are the State's safety requirements to keep workers like Flores from injury and death?

"The most common way is using a guardrail system," Cannon explained. "They must go along that edge and put a guardrail up all the way around there, so there are no unused edges they could possibly fall off."

Cannon says the rule for guardrails are the only safety measure in place for people working six feet or higher, and those workers aren't always required to wear harnesses. 

Metro Police say Flores was a sub-contractor for Nabor Framing, LLC, out of North Carolina. 

TOSHA has no records of violations from that company in the last five years.

If a worker feels a construction site or any workplace is unsafe and hazardous, call your local TOSHA office or (800) 249-8510 and report it. You can also file a complaint online.

Semi overturns on South York Road


An overturned semi-trailer shook the walls of a Gastonia auto parts store Friday morning.

Michael Kelly was helping a customer inside with Advance Auto Parts manager Mike Harvey when they all looked out a window of the South York Road shop, predicting an impact.

“I was looking like, what in the world, that looks funny,” Harvey said. ”(Kelly said) he doesn’t think that truck is going to make it.”

The next thing the employees recalled was a loud boom. Almost immediately Kelly dialed 911 to alert authorities. Harvey and a customer sprinted outside to help the driver.

Claude Harmon was buckled up when his work vehicle began to overturn. He suffered no injuries, even as the crash seemed to take forever.

“It’s like it happened in slow motion,” Harmon said. “It was scary. I was hollering, ‘Oh God,’ when it was happening.”

Prior to the wreck Harmon was turning left on Hudson Boulevard. Its load, stacked with steel high beams, was too heavy on top, Harmon said.

Speed wasn’t believed to be a factor in the wreck, though State Highway Patrol is investigating. Gastonia Fire Department was expected to get a crane to lift the several-ton vehicle upright. It fell in such a way as to not require a traffic shutdown.

Harmon says he was 30 minutes into his drive from Charlotte to Little Mountain Road in Gastonia when it overturned. An Advance Auto Parts customer climbed on top of the truck to help Harmon out of the driver’s seat.

It wasn’t the first wreck Harvey has witnessed from the job. U.S. 321 is a busy street, and he’s run to overturned cars in the past.

With no injuries Friday, though, Harvey thought back thankfully to his pre-shift routine.

“That’s the first thing I do every morning,” he said. “You pray for the safety of the people that are around you, in the store and out of the store.”

You can reach Adam Lawson at 704-869-1842 or on Twitter @GazetteLawson.