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Attorney for worker who died in SoFi Stadium fall says safety lapses contributed

Construction continues at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on March 19, 2020.
An attorney representing the family of ironworker Juan Becerra, who fell to his death last Friday at SoFi Stadium, says safety lapses at the $5-billion project contributed to the accident.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A week after an ironworker died after falling from the roof at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, an attorney representing his family alleged that safety lapses at the $5-billion project contributed to the accident.

“The tragic death of Juan Becerra was the result of reckless disregard for the basic safety rules protecting workers,” said Brian White, a Houston-based attorney retained by the family this week.

A spokesman for Turner-AECOM Hunt, the joint venture overseeing construction, responded to White’s comments with a statement.

“We are deeply saddened by recent events and want to convey our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family for their loss at this very difficult time,” the statement said. “The health and safety of the people on-site and in our community is and always will be our foremost concern. We have in place a robust and rigorous safety program, and our entire team, at every level, works hard every day to prevent incidents like this.”

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Last Friday, Becerra, who worked for a subcontractor, and multiple other workers were on the roof in the southeast corner of the stadium near one of the large concrete columns that support the structure. The roof is normally strong enough to walk on. According to White, the support underneath a portion of the roof had been removed for maintenance without warning the workers. White said Becerra moved to avoid debris, stepped on the unsupported area and plunged through the roof.

Paramedics pronounced Becerra dead at 11:10 a.m. The 37-year-old left behind a wife and three children in Brownsville, Texas. His funeral is scheduled for Sunday. A GoFundMe to pay for transporting Becerra’s body back to Texas and support his family has raised more than $47,000.

“This is a hard-working man who was providing for his family,” White said. “Even during this crazy time, he went across the country to work on this stadium. He was the hero of his family.”

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Work on the project was halted after the death. It resumed Monday. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating the incident.

The first major event scheduled for the stadium is a preseason NFL game between the Rams and New Orleans Saints on Aug. 14.

After the death, the Rams, Chargers and SoFi Stadium issued a joint statement saying, “The safety of our construction team and all of our employees is the foremost priority of our organizations, and we will continue to work with our partners and local authorities to deliver on this commitment.”


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