While we prefer to think that serious construction accidents are largely a thing of the past due to improvements in safety equipment and a greater overall awareness of workplace dangers, this simply isn’t the case. In fact, hundreds of thousands of hard working men and women suffer debilitating and sometimes fatal work injuries every year because of the inherently dangerous conditions found at many construction sites.
Consider a case out of California, where just yesterday a worker was killed in a tragic elevator accident at the future home of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers.
According to reports, the 63-year-old man, an employee of the Schindler Elevator Corporation, was working on a ladder inside one of the elevator shafts at Levi’s Field at around 6:45 a.m. when he was fatally struck by a falling counter-weight.
The tragedy understandably left many of the 1,000-plus workers on the site of the new $1.3 billion stadium shaken. In fact, construction operations were halted for the day after the accident and grief counselors were brought in.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers affected by this tragedy,” read a statement from the team’s front office. “The 49ers family has lost a teammate today.”
Stadium officials were quick to downplay any rumors that the fatality occurred because construction efforts on the new stadium — scheduled to open in the fall of 2014 — had fallen behind.
“Safety is our top priority,” said one official. “We will never put someone in a hazardous situation.”
It is worth noting that the Schindler Elevator Corporation has been cited by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration seven times since 2008 and forced to pay fines of nearly $200,000.
The most recent incident occurred in 2008, when the company was issued a citation for a serious violation and fined $25,000 after a worker fell nearly 20 feet into an elevator shaft at a construction site. The sheer height of the fall caused the worker to suffer multiple fractures.
Consider speaking with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your options if you have suffered serious injuries in a construction workers’ accident.
Source: NBC Bay Area, “Elevator worker dies at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara,” Lisa Fernandez, Bob Redell and Alan Waples, June 12, 2013