Tragic PSU construction accident under investigation by OSHA

A construction accident provides an example of the need for regulations to reduce the risk of tragedy in this dangerous profession.

Those who choose to work in the construction industry are becoming part of an often fulfilling, yet highly dangerous profession. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) state that the construction profession is a "high hazard industry," resulting in the death of over 800 workers annually. Workers in this profession are exposed to serious hazards due to falls from high work spaces as well as the potential for electrocution and accidents involving heavy machinery. OSHA provides guidelines to reduce these risks, but accidents can still happen.

Accident at Penn State highlights dangers of construction work

The dangers associated with the construction industry were recently highlighted by a tragic accident at the Penn State campus. A local newspaper reported that the accident occurred at the Burrowes Building, which was under renovation to install improved cooling and heating systems as well as other renovations to improve the aesthetic value of the building as well as help the building meet sustainability standards.

During this process, a young worker at the site was attempting to break down a crane in preparation to move it to another site. At this time, another worker removed a pin within the crane that caused it to swing and strike the young man. Injuries resulting from this accident led to the man's death.

OSHA investigates

The federal agency is currently investigating the accident. During such investigations, OSHA generally looks for violations of federal regulations. In these situations, regulations that could apply include:

  • Certification. Employers must be able to establish that crane operators are competent in their operation of these potentially dangerous machines.
  • Support. Employers must also determine that the ground the crane is located on is able to support the weight of the crane, hoisting equipment and associated loads.
  • Assembly and disassembly. There are many requirements that must be followed to ensure safe assembly and disassembly (A/D) of cranes. Examples include the presence of an A/D director that is both "competent" and "qualified" as defined by the agency. Additional rules include requirements regarding the location of all workers during this process and use of stabilizers when needed.

These are just a few of the many regulations used by OSHA to help reduce the risk of these types of accidents.

Legal counsel

Those who are injured or lose a loved one due to this type of accident should be aware of the fact that compensation is likely available to help cover the costs associated with the accident. Contact an experienced construction workplace accident lawyer to discuss your options.