Local News

Companies Fined in Construction Worker's Death

Posted June 11, 2007 3:45 p.m. EDT

— Two companies have been fined in connection with the February death of a construction worker at a downtown Durham site, officials said Monday.

Derrick Pilgrim, 35, of 1204 E. Club Blvd., a worker for Big Dog Demolition Co. was doing some demolition work inside a two-story building at West Main and Fuller streets that used to house Liggett & Myers administrative offices when a wall collapsed on him on Feb. 13.

The historic tobacco warehouse complex is undergoing renovations as developers convert it into shops, offices and residential units.

Big Dog allowed employees to work within a foot of unstable walls, failed to get an engineering survey before demolition work, didn't train workers to avoid hazards, didn't provide information to workers using dust respirators and let a worker ride in the cab of a Bobcat as it was lifted 45 feet above the ground by a crane, according to the North Carolina Department of Labor.

The company was fined $9,750 for the violations.

Barnhill Contracting Co., the primary contractor on the redevelopment project was fined $6,300 for two violations. The Labor Department said the company violated labor laws by allowing Big Dog to do demolition work without an engineering survey and by not regularly inspecting the job site, materials and equipment.