Friday, June 12, 2009

Scaffolding Collapse


Project On Hold

The article below from the American Statesman by Juana Summers and Patrick George notes that three workers were killed in a collapse of scaffolding on a multi-story Condominium project in Texas.

Failure to following applicable standards for the proper set up of scaffolding AND the proper use of these scaffolds by workers while on them on commercial and industrial construction projects have been the cause of numerous fatalities over recent months.

The primary failure cause is the lack of training for the scaffold erectors and in the majority of cases, the lack of proper training of the workers that use them. So many times, the workers see a scaffold that has been erected for them to use, climb up to the work space then make minor alterations to the scaffolds to ease access to specific work spots causing a weakening of the system. Or they may fail to use proper care while working from the scaffold system.

After all, there are some unsafe aspects of most any scaffolding system that these workers have to be familiar with and shown the dangers associated with the system.

I urge ALL contractors to take the proper erection, setup, and continued checks of all scaffolding systems by following the OSHA standards and the scaffolding manufacturers instruction for these systems. This is a plain and simple use of Horse Sense as it pertains to this large part of multi-story construction, both in Commercial and Industrial projects.

Condo project put on hold

Three men killed while after falling from side of West Campus tower.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Construction on a high-rise condominium near the University of Texas has been put on hold indefinitely while officials investigate the deaths of three men Wednesday in a scaffolding collapse, the project's developer said.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Austin police are investigating the incident.

Gary Perkins, the developer of the 21 Rio project, called the collapse an "unfortunate accident" and offered condolences to the families of the workers who were killed.

"It's so upsetting because we're getting so close to opening the building. Everything has been clicking," he said. "This unfortunate accident takes our breath away."

The project's Web site says the 21-story condo tower was expected to be open this month.

Perkins said that up to 200 people have worked at the site on some days.

Police have not released the workers' names because their families have not been notified, officials said.

Four construction workers were on the scaffold outside the building at 21st and Rio Grande streets when part of it collapsed for unknown reasons about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Harry Evans, a battalion chief with the Fire Department.

Two men in their late 20s fell 11 to 13 stories to the ground, Evans said. They were pronounced dead soon after.

A third man, who was about 40, fell a few stories onto the roof of a seven-story parking garage, Evans said. The man died a few hours later at University Medical Center Brackenridge.

The fourth man did not fall and received only minor injuries, Evans said.

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