JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A man doing work at a high-rise condominium complex at the beaches died Wednesday morning when he fell about 100 feet in what appears to have been an accident.
The man was identified as Paul Knight. According to the incident report, the 49-year-old construction worker fell as he tried to jump to an elevator while working on a 10th floor balcony on the north side of the building, which did not have a rail.
Several people attempted to help him, but he died at the scene. According to police, Knight had a safety harness but it somehow dislodged.
The incident happened at the Pelican Point Condominiums at 1901 First St. North in Jacksonville Beach, just south of Seagate Avenue.
Residents explained that the complex is having concrete and rebar work done on the balconies.
Jacksonville Beach police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are conducting separate investigations into the man’s death.
In the report, the construction company was listed as Engineered Restorations Inc., which is headquartered in Georgia. A request for comment wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday evening.
Bud Underwood, a retired assistant area supervisor for OSHA, told News4Jax that falls like this are usually preventable.
“Falls and construction are still the leading cause of death in the United States. So the rule is that anything over 6 feet, you should be using some sort of fall protection whether it be a guard rail system, fall arrest, nets,” Underwood said. “If they’re working on that naked balcony, there should be some sort of fall protection there, whether it be a net, a guard rail or fall arrest. There should have been something, something like that in place.”
He said it’s a sad reminder that safety needs to be the first concern on all sites.
“It is a sad wake-up call and what is even more saddening is you can literally go to any construction site, whether it be residential construction or commercial, and find somebody exposed to a fall hazard,” Underwood said.
As of now, we don’t know which safety measures were or were not in place. Determining that will be part of the death investigations.
“You don’t go to work to die. You don’t just do that,” Underwood said.