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Accidents and Crashes

OSHA investigating roofing worker’s fatal fall at Caldera HS construction site

(Update: Adding video, Oregon OSHA comment, statistics)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A Bend man working for a Redmond-based roofing company was killed Tuesday morning in a fall at the construction site of Caldera High School, the new high school being built in southeast Bend, police reported.

Police and Bend Fire medics responded just before 7 a.m. to the school site on Southeast 15th Street and Knott Road, Lt. Juli McConkey said.

The man was pronounced dead on the scene, McConkey said.

Police later identified the man as James A. Bickers, 37, of Bend, an employee of River Roofing in Redmond.

The incident is under investigation by police, Oregon OSHA and the Deschutes County medical examiner’s and district attorney’s office.

The $114 million, 260,000-square-foot high school is about halfway toward completion and is slated to open in the fall of 2021.

Though some workers were still seen on the site later Tuesday morning, Bend-La Pine Schools spokeswoman Julianne Repman said the job site had been shut down for the OSHA investigation.

Repman called it "a terrible tragedy and a sad day. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and coworkers."

District Attorney John Hummel said he was unaware of any evidence of criminal negligence at this stage, but will await the results of the OSHA investigation before any final charging decision.

Leah Andrews, a representative with Oregon OSHA, said falls are the leading cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry.

When a worker is off the ground six feet or higher, Andrews said, they are required to wear a harness. Construction workers undergo training to ensure they know proper protocol at sites, she said.

"Oregon OSHA provides training on the fundamentals of fall safety, and it's available in English and Spanish," Andrews said. "There are videos and materials that you can download, and it includes information on the type of equipment you should be wearing, how it should be installed and at what height one should be wearing it."

Oregon OSHA reports there have been a total of 43 workplace fatalities so far in 2020, two of them reported as falls, including the one at Caldera High. In 2019, there were 70 reported work-related deaths in the state, 11 initially reported as a fall.

"Through both education and enforcement, Oregon OSHA has a role in trying to prevent workplace injury and fatality," Andrews said.

"With a workplace fatality, it is our role to investigate to see if safety rules were followed and what could be done to prevent this from happening," she added.

Oregon OSHA has up to 180 days to complete a workplace fatality report.

NewsChannel 21 also reached out to the roofing company, but it declined to comment.

Bend / Central Oregon / News / Top Stories
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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Comments

55 Comments

  1. Roofers are tough lot.
    I wonder where his safety tether was?
    Someone has got some ‘splainin to do.
    Sorry for the family and friends, 37 is awfully young.
    R.I.P.

    1. Clearly not tied off at height- now watch the world go quiet like it never happened- which assures us all that it will indeed happen again- just like the yearly events with the broken gas lines.

      With all the focus on corona I can’t help but wonder if OSHA has taken their eye off the ball-

      Data don’t lie- Oregon is a dangerous place to work.

      1. Premature pointing a finger isn’t a good thing . . . What if it was equipment failure? How about defective equipment? What about a defective anchor? Improperly secured anchor? OR . . . a combination of factors? That’s why OSHA is investigating. Leave it to the pro’s. The result could have been no fault of anyone onsite.

    1. You see Martha- there are many more hazards out there in our CO world than just your corona wuhan virus… and it’s events like these and auto accidents that seem to trigger yer hostility towards those of us who keep reminding you.

      I’ll save the rest of my outrage for later on over the few days- or the mod will crack heads over our lack of empathy- I’ll walk away saying it again- Oregon remains one of the most dangerous states to work in- and that’s on Oregon OSHA and the Governor !

  2. This is very sad to hear. RIP to his friends & Family. It says 10 comments, but only 2 show. Hopefully, Barney cleaned up some of the bad comments people leave. If so, thank you.

    1. How do you define “bad” ? I know none of mine named names- violated any TOS- made a bold prediction that over-sensitives would complain incessantly about empathy- The data is clear- that Oregon is in dire need of an intervention- the job sites are clearly not safe.

        1. We can go round and round all day about the subjective term “offensive”.

          You allow racist terms like Trumpanzee- most do not.
          You allow personal attacks that include scum-bag and vulgarities- highly offensive !
          You repeat offensive racial slurs like ‘****** ! Highly offensive for some (I guess).

          My comments include none of this unless you post it first- what you seem to find offensive is anyone who doesn’t agree with your narrative.

          You continue to attack conservative comments and those with less than radical ideas. Anyone supporting the US President- American Culture- Mom- Apple Pie and Baseball is not welcome here… and those are violations of my TOS ! So shape up or ship out !

              1. As I’ve said before, he/she have been in our previous comment system under other names before, so I’m sure he/she would find a way back. (Previously Owen Mattson, before he/she took the absurd current screen name.) I just wish he/she would find another place to … hang out. Even many of those who agree with him/her politically have told him/her here, publicly, many times he/she does no good for his viewpoints in the awful way he/she treats me and most everybody else. He/she doesn’t care about anything but his/her own outsized ego and troll behavior, and feeds on my replies. I have no choice but to occasionally point out the facts in defense, not for his/her benefit – that’s a waste of time – but those who are looking on.

                1. So couldn’t the person then go to a different device? I don’t have time for war games;-/ Call me paranoid, but the depth of this person’s hate doesn’t bode well for him/her just going away quietly.

              2. Gee John- Just what TOS rule am I violating ? You see- that’s the problem… there is no justifiable reason to ban-censor-block any of my comments just because you don’t agree with them.

                Your cancel culture is far more intimidating-vile- and more disgusting than anything I’ve ever posted- those communist attitudes are so Un-American that you should be ashamed to carry that Christian name of yours.

                Maybe it’s “you” that should go somewhere else- and take your threats to silence the masses with you !

              1. “you keep engaging”

                And so do you !

                I’ve had to pick through many of your personal attacks- name calling tantrums- foot stomping hijinks… just because you don’t agree with the facts or data I provide- usually from the OHA or some research paper… I am clearly not the problem- you flat Earthers with your denials of basic science get all uppity when yer proven wrong.

                If you can’t swim with the big fishes- then stay in the skeeter pond !

            1. He’s totally correct on that tos crap…..you let things post that are offensive to my kind and think it’s funny…then tell us to go somewhere else if we don’t like it….yeah well quit your whining and go to work for the democrats if you don’t like us calling lying people out on it…and you sir, are a liar. I posted the definition of Lying by Omission, and this station meets that definition

              1. You are absolutely right- as we see the number of conservative voices silenced here. There is no room for anyone (including the Mod) to be telling people to go elsewhere- insisting that people be banned- removed- “off with their heads” !

                The left can’t tolerate anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their wacky ways- that always end in a tantrum- hissy fit- or hysterics… just look at the name list around here- none of them can precisely identify the TOS violation I’ve broken.

                This site needs alternative view points- this aint no “Pea Soup Andersons”- where all you’ll get on the menu is “Pea Soup” !

          1. BGHW is nothing but a nasty troll. It’ll be nice when he’s ‘gone’ someday. I wonder if Owen Mattson is his real name? I’ll have to look it up in the records database I have access to 🙂

        1. So you didn’t post this under “John Says”…

          “Can’t you just block BGHW?”

          Clearly no guilty conscience at all- just tired of you “Cancel Cultists” trying to remove conservative voices from this platform !

      1. Sure she does- she demanded censorship and you allowed this “Karen” to bully you into a highly questionable removal… You have now re-set the standards of moderating and others will make demands (like me) like Karen and when you don’t abide- I will rant on and on about discrimination and lack of wokeness towards my political needs.

        So now that she is in charge- what will you do- do you have any skills- can you paint drywall ?

  3. “Neither the School or the roofing company will speak to Z21”

    Gee- imagine that ! Like I said above- watch as everyone goes quiet- nothing to see here just some Karen saying “thank you” for unknown reasons- surely not for any degree of transparency- no wonder
    no-one wants to talk to the Z- their messaging usually becomes garbled and politicized.

    41 work place fatalities already this year- What was I just saying about the dangers of working in Oregon- the state needs a complete overhaul but as long as Brown is at the helm- you live life around here at your own risk.

    1. Let me set you straight on why neither would talk to KTVZ about the accident . . . It’s called lawsuit! Under the circumstances of the accident, no one with a sane mind is going to talk about the press . . . unless they have an agenda and then see my first reason. The roofing company AND the school are both going to cooperate with and wait for the findings of the OSHA investigator. It’s in their best legal interests.

      1. Maybe you should be setting Z21 reporters “straight”. If you watched the video- then you know it is the reporter who made the statement about the school and the roofing company not wanting to speak… so clearly the reporter went out on a limb to see if just maybe one of them would talk… No need to get up in my grill- I’ve sat through more RCA’s than you can imagine.

    2. You need to figure out which side of the story you want to be on – can make sore spots when you straddle the fence too much. Granted it is hard to tell but usually you are complaining about regulations and here you just suggested you want more regulations – make up your mind if you can.

      1. What “additional regulations” am I suggesting ? Please note them in order of importance cause I’m pretty sure your list will come back empty.

  4. Don’t assume he wasn’t tied off. Many times you tie off to something someone else set up. You put your life in the hands of someone else and hope they did it right.

    Expect, what you fail to inspect I’ve always been told.

    My heart goes out. Roofers and anyone who work with concrete are some of the hardest working people you will ever meet.

    1. “Many times you tie off to something someone else set up.”

      Not in my world !!!

      By OSHA standards, you tie off to something that can withstand 5,000 pounds- by manufacturing standards you inspect your equipment before going to height- by sop’s you have an equipment checklist and a fall protection/rescue plan completed and checked by a Supervisor or safety professional on site… this appears to be a complete breakdown at numerous levels of safety- and seeing how early in the morning this happened… well… I’ll hold judgement.

      In my world of heavy construction in hazardous conditions- we never short cut the safety standards- accidents like this happen fast and can be potentially fatal.

      My heart doesn’t go out as much as my blood pressure boils… the RCA will get to the bottom of this- but as I look at this from afar- it shoulda never happened !

      1. Dude, you just repeated what I said. You tie off to stuff you didn’t build. You are relying on someone else to follow the procedures and do it right. I don’t build the scaffold from bottom up, but I use it to hook to. I don’t put the rings in the ridge, but I hook them to do work. So I’m putting my life in the hands of someone else. Unless you’ve personally constructed everything you touch, you put life in someone else’s hands as well.

        I was referring to the comment that said he wasn’t tied off. I’m going out on a limb and say he was, something or someone failed him. And for that my heart goes out.

        1. So your position is tying off to a beam-scaffold-or anchor point relieves you of any responsibility ?

          Go back and look at that “control” list I put out- “checklist- inspections- supervisor-co-workers-safety officer- finally the worker. Six levels of built in safety protocol- but gee- maybe the I-beam collapsed ???

          Sorry- I won’t go there yet- I’ll wait till Z21 gives an update sometime in November- till then- I pray that nobody follows your excuses-excuses-excuses style of work site safety- it would help explain Oregon’s extremely low performance on the subject.

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