Construction sites can be extremely dangerous, especially when collapses and falling building materials are involved. Without close attention to safety, accidents can and do happen. This is precisely what occurred on Sept. 23 at the building site of a future 18-story lab and office complex in Boston’s Seaport District.
It was reported that hundreds of pounds of steel rebar collapsed in a “ripple effect” at the construction site, injuring three workers. The steel fell like a set of dominos onto two workers who were 100 feet below in a pit laying forms for the building’s foundation, firefighters said. Another worker above the pit was also injured.
Luckily, other workers at the scene were able to use a crane to lift the loads of steel off of the workers, so the men weren’t trapped under the weight for long. None of the men were seriously injured, but there were minor arm and leg injuries reported.
The Boston Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief said that it’s a wonder no one was more seriously injured in the accident as it was “a considerable amount of force coming down.” He said that by the time firefighters arrived at the scene the trapped workers had been freed but they were still stranded. The rescuers then used the crane to lift the workers to safety.
A representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration told the Boston Herald that his agency is investigating the accident and the job site. By law, construction sites must meet certain safety codes and regulations that help keep workers safe.
If it is determined that the site was not up to code or presented an otherwise preventable danger, it is possible that the workers could sue their employer for medical expenses, lost wages and maybe even punitive damages. Punitive damages allow accident victims to recover for non-monetary losses including pain and suffering.
Source: The Boston Herald, “Tons of steel fall on 3 workers,” O’Ryan Johnson, Sept. 24, 2011.