OSHA: Boy injured at construction site was 13

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Kris Kirschner/Eyewitness News

Greenwood - A forklift accident two weeks ago claimed the life of a Greenwood construction worker. His teenage son was also on the site, and was also injured. Now OSHA officials may be looking into more violations.

As the new Value Place hotel takes shape in Greenwood, so too are state officials making progress on their investigation into an accident on the site two weeks ago.

Three tile workers were coming off the fourth floor into an aerial basket when, according to police reports, two of the workers, 31-year-old Jose Delgado, Sr. and his son, slid off the forks and the forklift fell to the ground. Delgado later died from his injuries. His son, at first reported to be only 15 years old, was also hurt.

"A construction site like this is not a place for a child like that to be working," said OSHA deputy commissioner Jeff Carter.

Carter says this week investigators learned the boy wasn't 15 after all. "We believe he's younger than that now. We believe he could be as young as 13," he said.

By law, that's too young to be on the job site. Investigators are also looking at the forklift used by the workers.

One thing OSHA investigators will have to determine is whether the workers were using the forklift incorrectly, or if that machinery is used in a similar fashion on this or other job sites.

The basket on the forklift is what OSHA investigators consider "homemade." Officials want to know if the workers were trained to use it.

"That basket we have questions about. It does not meet the standards," said Carter.

The contractor supervisor on site told police the day of the accident, "Any subcontractor may use the on-site forklift, but must sign a contract stating they must get the necessary training." He went on to say, "Millstone [the general contractor] does not allow people in the basket."

But two weeks after the fatal accident, Eyewitness News saw two workers in what appears the be the same forklift.

"The company will probably be cited," Carter said.

Citations are likely. But who the state holds accountable for one worker's death is still unclear.

The driver of the forklift, Antonio Torres, told police he didn't have a key to drive it and that he used a pocket knife to start the engine.

OSHA officials say citations may be directed at Torres, who is an independent contractor, Carpetbaggers, the company who hired him, and Millstone, the general contractor on the construction site. It's also possible no one will be held accountable.

The investigation is expected to take another two weeks.