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Airport Construction Accident Illustrates Big Four Workplace Hazards

Just a few weeks ago, a post on this blog discussed the dangers of working in airports. Although the post primarily described the kinds of accidents that occur at the big airports in the New York City metro area -JFK, LaGuardia and Newark, even very small airports experience serious accidents that leave workers seriously injured.

A recent incident at the Morristown (NJ) Municipal Airport confirms this. Last Friday morning, a worker was seriously injured when an airplane hangar collapsed. The employee, a 35-year-old man from Toms River, New Jersey, was working the project to construct the hangar. The structure, which had only progressed to the point where steel erector beams had been installed, collapsed around 11:15 AM.

The worker fell, injuring his leg. It is not known how far he fell. Another worker was also injured, but suffered only extensive bruising to his arm. This worker, a 37-year-old man from Egg Harbor, New Jersey, was expected to make a full recovery.

According to a spokesperson from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is investigating the incident, the two workers were in a basket when the wind picked, shearing off the bolts hold the structure that then collapsed.

OSHA confirmed that the construction company that employed the two men has a history of OSHA violations. The company, 360 Street Erectors of Toms River, New Jersey, has five recent violations, including one "repeat" violation. The exact nature of the violations was not reported in news stories last week.

It is not known why the structure collapsed. OSHA has six months to investigate, write and release its report on the accident. According to the agency, falls are one of the four primary causes of injuries to construction workers. The other three are:

· Being struck by moving or falling objects

· Being caught in between buildings, moving vehicles and construction equipment, being buried when a trench collapses

· Electrical shock

Whether a worker is employed at an airport or is working on a many-story tower in Manhattan, the big four construction accidents take many lives and cause many injuries each year, despite OSHA's efforts to provide safety materials and training to workers and their employees.

The worker fell, injuring his leg. It is not known how far he fell. Another worker was also injured, but suffered only extensive bruising to his arm. This worker, a 37-year-old man from Egg Harbor, New Jersey, was expected to make a full recovery.

According to a spokesperson from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is investigating the incident, the two workers were in a basket when the wind picked, shearing off the bolts hold the structure that then collapsed.

OSHA confirmed that the construction company that employed the two men has a history of OSHA violations. The company, 360 Street Erectors of Toms River, New Jersey, has five recent violations, including one "repeat" violation. The exact nature of the violations was not reported in news stories last week.

It is not known why the structure collapsed. OSHA has six months to investigate, write and release its report on the accident. According to the agency, falls are one of the four primary causes of injuries to construction workers. The other three are:

  • Being struck by moving or falling objects
  • Being caught in between buildings, moving vehicles and construction equipment, being buried when a trench collapses
  • Electrical shock

Whether a worker is employed at an airport or is working on a many-story tower in Manhattan, the big four construction accidents take many lives and cause many injuries each year, despite OSHA's efforts to provide safety materials and training to workers and their employees.

To learn more or find out about your rights after a construction accident, call Block O'Toole & Murphy at 212-736-5700. Free consultation.