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As modern reinforced concrete emerged as a building material of choice, busy construction sites became dangerous for a new reason. Precast concrete slabs weighing many tons are routinely installed during the construction of structures like mall parking garages. Trauma known as crush injuries may result when the methods and equipment used to manipulate these incredibly heavy objects are improperly used.
A crush injury occurs when a body part is subjected to a high degree of force or pressure, usually after being squeezed between heavy objects like concrete slabs. These falling or sliding slabs cause injuries that are severe and may involve any part of the body. Victims can suffer from a symptom known as “crush syndrome.” Swelling of the muscles and nerve damage often ensue after being trapped under a heavy object for a prolonged period of time.
Crush injuries also result from falling debris, faulty scaffolding injuries and defective tools. They all may be a part of employer negligence.
A report on a fatal construction accident concluded that the failure of a jack assembly led to the collapse of a concrete slab being placed during the construction of a mall parking garage.
Investigators say that the scaffold legs of a jacking tower at the construction site where the accident happened were not being used properly, causing it and a portion of the garage to come down.
According to the investigation, which calls the incident a “tragic construction incident,” a safety tower at the garage began to twist and fail. At that point, workers jacked up a tee in an effort to remove the failing beam.
At that point, though, investigators say that the scaffold legs of the jacking tower were extended beyond manufacturers recommendations, and at the same time, its extension sections were not braced properly. Those two missteps reduced the load capacity of the jack, causing it to fail.
One worker was killed in the accident and another worker suffered serious injuries.
Construction is a dynamic process creating ever changing work situations that may include the possibility of a crush accident. It is the responsibility of management to oversee and insure that all safety measures are being followed.
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