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Man falls to his death while working on construction site in Atu’u

A hard worker, a family man, an honest employee and a good man were some of the words used by Paramount Builders president and owner Papaali’i Lauli’i Alofa when describing one of his long term employees, Lole Malai who died while on duty on Monday.


Mr. Malai of Nu’uuli left behind a wife and three minor children.


Efforts to obtain comments from the mourning family were unsuccessful as of press time. Samoa News understands the Department of Public Safety is conducting an investigation into the matter.


According to Papaali’i, Malai, from Falealupo, Savai’i has been working for Paramount Builders for more than eight years and he was a dependable employee when it came to height projects. He explained that— according to employees at the work site — Malai had not hooked his harness to the cable when he was sitting on the bars, and when he got up, that’s when he slipped and fell.


“In this case, it’s unfortunate, but when you’re on duty, employees should always have their safety gear on, because accidents occur in the blink of an eye. You cannot be too confident or careless as this is the result,” said Papaali’i. “If anything, this incident is a lesson for anyone and all construction employees, let alone Paramount employees, that safety must be adhered to when on duty.”


Papaali’i noted that he meets with his employees every morning at 5:45 a.m., where they are reminded to wear their safety gear. “The proper use of safety harnesses can prevent death or serious injury while working” he said.


He told Samoa News that being in the construction business, he’s done research where he found reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that an estimated 1,224 construction workers died on the job in the mainland, with at least 36 percent of those deaths from falls, and this is what he reminds his employees on a daily basis.


“Safety must be adhered, because even experts say the falls came from a number of factors, like unstable working surfaces, human error and the misuse of — or lack of — fall protection equipment, which is why it’s important to wear the safety harness and hook it to the line properly when working,” the Paramount Builders owner said.


 Papaali’i explained to Samoa News that the types of harnesses that his employees use are full- body harnesses, meant to prevent injury or death from a fall.


“Paramount construction workers are given full-body harnesses that connect to a safety rope. If a worker falls, the harness' connection to the rope helps keep the worker from falling to the ground if used properly, yet in this case, Malai’s harness was not hooked onto the cable as it was supposed to be.”


According to Papali’i, Paramount will be assisting Mr. Malai’s family financially as a token of their appreciation for Malai’s contribution to their company with his long years of service. Funeral arrangements are pending, according to Lauli’i.


Samoa News extends condolences to the mourning family.