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Investigation of worker's death at construction site continues

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Posted at 3:14 PM, May 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-29 18:40:39-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An investigation is underway into the death of a construction worker on a West Palm Beach condominium who fell 11 floors to her death.

Police were called to the La Clara Palm Beach condominium on South Flagler Drive just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

"When units arrived on scene, they discovered a 23-year-old Miami-Dade (County) woman who had landed on a second-floor landing on this construction site," West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles said.

Police identified the woman as Yamileth Martinez-Ponce from Miami's Allapattah neighborhood.

Investigators said Martinez was working on flooring in one of the units and somehow fell from a 13th-floor balcony.

Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene.

West Palm Beach police are investigating the fatal fall, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been contacted.

Martinez was an employee of Miami-based Jovavesa Corp., which was a subcontractor at the site.

"Hopefully, the employer had workers compensation insurance and the work comp carrier will provide the benefits for the dependents," Andrew Neuwelt, a compensation attorney with Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt, said.

According to OSHA in 2019, 5,333 workers died on the job with one-in-five being in construction.

"I think they're going to be looking into several factors, and that would include safety equipment," Neuwelt said. "Finding out what she was doing, was she supposed to be there. However, none of that will matter in the big picture as long as she was there doing what she was supposed to do."

Neuwelt said in Florida, any employer with four or more employees is required to have workers compensation.

In the construction industry, it can be as low as one.

"If something happens, you have an accident as an injured employee, you have to report your accident or injury within 30 days to your employer," Neuwelt said. "You have to ask for medical care. If you're concerned about it, if you don't know what your rights are or what the rules are in the state of Florida, consult an attorney. People get hurt every day throughout the state of Florida. We're here to try to help them if we can."