Autopsy report: ‘Unclear’ whether SoFi Stadium worker was wearing harness properly
The construction worker who died after falling from SoFi Stadium’s roof was wearing a fall protection harness, according to the autopsy report by the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner, but it’s “unclear and unconfirmed” if the harness was properly secured to a safety line.
Juan Becerra fell more than 100 feet from the southeast corner of the stadium in Inglewood on June 5.
“The decedent was reported to have been transporting large bundles of ratchet straps across the scaffolding near the rooftop of the stadium at a height of 120 feet,” said the report released in response to a request by The Times. “For an unknown reason, the decedent fell from the scaffold, impacting the hardened concrete surface below.”
The report added: “There was no history of suicidal ideation or attempt. There were no reports of the presence of any environmental factors, intoxication, illnesses, or injuries which may have influenced the fall. There was no foul play suspected.”
The medical examiner-coroner’s office gathered information at the scene from Inglewood Police Department and California Division of Occupational Safety and Health representatives. The harness was an immediate focus.
SoFi Stadium, the NFL’s crown jewel, was the the culmination of Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s vision and the NFL’s desire to return to the L.A. market.
“Upon inspecting the fall protection harness, it was determined that it appeared in working order, with no obvious faults or defects present,” the report said. “However, it was noted that there was no ‘cat line’ or safety line seen attached or ‘clipped’ onto the harness.”
The report said the harness was “released as evidence” to the L.A. County district attorney. In response to a question about the matter, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said “a case has not been presented to our office for filing consideration.”
Cal/OSHA’s investigation of the death is ongoing, according to an agency spokesman.
Last month, Becerra’s family filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court against Stadco LA, the company behind the privately financed project; two companies that make up the Turner-AECOM Hunt joint venture coordinating construction; and two subcontractors. Becerra, who lived in Brownsville, Texas, is survived by his wife and three children.
The complaint alleged that “fall protection equipment” wasn’t present “at and around the location of the fall” and that a roof panel on the stadium was removed “without notice to workers including Decedent or barriers being placed to protect against the newly-created fall hazard.”
The family’s Houston-based attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment on the autopsy report.
A second worker, Simon Fite, died at the stadium in July. The joint venture said at the time that the cause of death “appears to be personal health related.” The medical examiner-coroner hasn’t released a cause of death pending further investigation.
SoFi Stadium will host its first major event Sunday night when the Rams open the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys.
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