Right before Washington DC’s National Cathedral’s commemoration of the events of 9/11’s 10th anniversary, a serious crane collapse landed a crane operator in the hospital and forced event coordinators to find alternate locations for the national events.
The National Cathedral was damaged after an earthquake rocked the east coast. The 100 year old structure sustained damage and was being repaired by construction workers. There was a crane on site to aid in repairing the damage which subsequently toppled while the crane operator was still in the cab. Due to the many 9/11 Anniversary events around the country, the crane collapse was not part of the news headlines. Luckily, the only injury reported was to the crane operator who was released the same day from a local hospital.
There are crane accidents occurring across the nation every day and much like the one at the National Cathedral, these incidents go largely unreported. In this case, the company responsible for operating the crane was previously cited on two occasions by OSHA for failing to follow health and safety regulations and thus putting construction site workers in jeopardy. While OSHA certainly takes these issues seriously, construction dangers often swept under the rug until something as serious as a crane collapse occurs. The additional injuries on the job site occurred when two workers where trying to take apart the toppled crane the day following the accident.
The Washington DC crane collapse highlights once again the need for strong safety regulations on construction sites as well as the need for vigilance among construction employees. Construction work is one of the most dangerous careers in the nation with one out of every 5 fatal work-related deaths occurring in the industry.