Construction Incidents Investigation Engineering Reports
Construction Incidents Investigation Engineering Reports
On February 1, 2014, at approximately 11:37 a.m., a 340 ft.-high guyed telecommunication tower (cell tower), suddenly collapsed during upgrading/construction activities. Four employees were working on the tower removing its diagonals. In the process, no temporary supports were installed. As a result of the tower's collapse, two employees were killed and two others were badly injured. The cell tower fell onto the guy wires of an adjacent smaller cell tower and caused it to collapse, killing a firefighter while he was rescuing the injured employees on the ground. The collapse of the smaller tower is not covered in this investigation.
A massive collapse occurred at a plant producing nutritional supplements for animal feed. There were nine bins each 8 ft. x 8 ft. x 27 ft. high, framed over the roof of the building. During filling of one of the bins with lime stone, the supporting structure collapsed and the entire plant had to be shut down. The facility was originally constructed around 1972. Two employees were killed and thirteen others were injured.
On November 2, 2013, at approximately 1:30 p.m. an incident occurred at the construction site of the runway expansion project of Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when five precast concrete beams fell off their bearings, and an additional five beams slid off their bearings but remained over the concrete bents. The beams fell some 25 feet onto the railroad tracks owned by Florida East Coast Railways which operates trains multiple times a day hauling commodities across Florida. The beams were placed just a couple of days earlier and were to support the actual runway consisting of a post-tensioned concrete slab. One employee sustained minor injuries but the potential for multiple fatalities was very obvious.
On November 13, 2013 an incident occurred at the construction site of a parking garage in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where two precast walls weighing about 34 tons each suddenly fell. The walls were erected less than an hour before they fell. Two employees sustained injuries although this incident could have resulted in multiple fatalities. The parking garage was being constructed as a part of a larger project to construct new rental apartment buildings. The entire complex was called RD Flagler Village.
A construction incident occurred on May 23, 2013, at approximately 1:45 p.m., when a prestressed concrete double tee partially collapsed while it was being jacked, killing one employee and injuring another. The double tee was 60 ft. long and 9 ft. wide, with a depth of 2 ft. 3 in. and a slab thickness of 4 inches. The weight of the double tee was approximately 42,800 pounds. The incident site was the Westlake Garage of the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, MD.
On May 28, 2013, a construction incident occurred at the site of Verizon Wireless cell tower in Georgetown, MS. The 300 ft. high cell tower was being equipped with a gin pole to replace the old antennas with new ones. While the gin pole, approximately 40 ft. tall was being raised, the rigging of the gin pole block suddenly failed, killing two workers located on the tower.
An incident occurred on March 31, 2013 inside the turbine building of Unit 1 at the Arkansas Nuclear One power plant in London/Russellville, AR. During the scheduled refueling outage of Unit 1, it was pre-planned to replace the turbine stator. While the old turbine stator was being removed and transported to the trailer deck, the temporary overhead crane supporting the old stator suddenly failed and collapsed, killing an employee. Eight other employees were injured. The turbine stator weighed over a million pounds.
On April 18, 2013, partial collapse of a masonry wall occurred during construction of the Goodwill Retail Store in Hendersonville, TN. As a result of the wall collapse, two employees were killed and one was injured. The investigation and evaluation were based on the information provided by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health of the State of Tennessee. The project consisted of construction of a one-story Goodwill Retail Store, approximately 170 ft. wide x 180 ft. long.
A portion of the parking garage under construction suddenly collapsed, trapping and killing four employees and injuring three others. The six-story garage was 305 ft. x 390 ft., and 62 ft. high and was being constructed with precast concrete structural members. The collapse occurred over an area of 122 ft. by 132 ft. The heavy fallen concrete pieces weighed approximately 3,300 tons.
On September 6, 2012 at approximately 5:00 a.m., a partial collapse of the second level slab occurred during construction of the 159-room, ten-story building, Hyatt Place Hotel in Omaha, NE. At the time of the collapse, the northwest section of the second level was being placed with fresh concrete over the formwork. Twenty-five employees were working with the wet concrete. Six of them on the formwork fell 10 to 18 feet below to the ground level. Three employees were injured.
The building under construction consisted of five townhouses, each four stories high. The structure consisted of load-bearing masonry walls with cold-formed steel C-joists and metal deck at each floor. At the time of the incident, materials were being delivered to the 4th floor. The front 20 feet of the floor collapsed over the third floor pancaking the floors below. One worker killed, 1 injured.
The project consisted of demolition of a 1920 built two-story warehouse building as part of Columbia University's expansion. During demolition, the building partially collapsed in an unplanned manner. One employee was killed and two employees were injured. The building was being used as a warehouse and a commercial parking garage.
The front bay of the five-story building under construction suddenly collapsed. At the time of the incident, concrete was being pumped to the third floor. The building was a hybrid construction of load-bearing light metal framing with interior steel rolled shaped beams and columns, and masonry walls at the core. One worker killed, 2 injured.
A 500-ton Liebherr mobile crane collapsed amid thunderstorms and heavy rain while it was being lowered to the ground. The crane's telescopic boom was 152 ft. and the attached lattice jib was 276 ft. long. The crane had been delivering materials over the cathedral building after earthquake damage. The crane tipped, overturned and fell its full length. One worker injured.
A systems-engineered metal building (pre-engineered building) collapsed during construction, killing one worker and injuring another. The project consisted of erecting four buildings, with length varying from 35 ft. to 300 ft. and width varying from 20 ft. to 150 ft. The building unit was intended to be a new manufacturing plant.
The east wall of the 30 ft. high concrete equalization basin suddenly separated from the rest of the structure under the hydrostatic pressure, and fell over a one story control room structure killing two employees.
A partially erected precast concrete frame of the 3,300 car parking garage suddenly collapsed. The structural design was hybrid: precast concrete columns and beams, and cast-in-place post-tensioned floors. The collapsed frame was approximately 65' long, 56' wide and 80' high weighing approximately 900 tons. Two workers were injured.
A mast climbing platform partially collapsed at a 21-story concrete framed condominium building under construction. The mast and one half of the platform remained intact. Immediately before the incident, the platform descended from the 13th floor and stopped at the 11th floor when one half of the platform suddenly separated from the main frame (motorized unit) and fell to the seventh floor. Three workers were killed.
A spirally shaped pedestrian walkway steel bridge approximately 575' long and 11' to 18' wide under construction collapsed. At the time of the incident, concrete was being poured over the bridge deck. The collapse was massive, involving over seventy percent of the bridge. At the time of the collapse, the entire bridge structural frame was being supported over fifteen temporary shoring towers. One worker killed, 18 injured.
The crane was assembled at the site with a 420' boom, 240' mast, 61' spar and 836,000 pounds of main counterweight attached to the spar. An additional 836,000 pounds of auxiliary counterweight was to be attached to its pendants suspended from the mast tip at 105' from the axis of the crane. With this configuration, the crane would have a million pound lifting capacity at a maximum boom radius of 160'. The incident occurred during the installation of the auxiliary counterweight. Four workers were killed and 6 injured.
Only selected reports are posted on this webpage. For assistance with any of the reports, figures or illustrations, please contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.
- OSHA finds that structural engineers must specify the order and manner of replacing existing diagonals and strut members of cellular towers. Onsite judgement by workers engaged in retrofit of towers has often proven to be disastrous. (October 2018)
- OSHA finds that the contractors and engineers should consider turbulent winds causing uplift and vortex in areas exposed to tropical storms and hurricane. OSHA recommends analysis based on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) calculations. (September 2018)
- OSHA finds that the contractor not laying the boom and jib in the face of impending wind in accord with the crane manufacturer's instruction caused the collapse of the crane. (July 2016)
- OSHA finds that contractors must exhibit abundance of caution and supervision during dismantling of mast climbing platforms, not to overload the platforms causing failure of the mast. (August 2015)
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces Initiative to Increase Awareness Of Trenching and Excavation Hazards and Solutions, OSHA News Release (November 28, 2018)
- U.S. Department of Labor Cites Five Contractors for Safety Violations Following Florida Pedestrian Bridge Collapse, OSHA News Release (September 18, 2018)
- U.S. Department of Labor Cites Pennsylvania Crane Manufacturer for Exposing Employees to Safety Hazards after Fatal Crane Collapse, DOL News Release (August 6, 2018)
- U.S. Department of Labor Cites Communication Tower Contractor Following Three Fatalities at Miami Work Site, OSHA News Release (March 27, 2018)
- OSHA finds that overloading led to Providence, Rhode Island, circus fall Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus cited for serious safety violation. OSHA Regional News Release, (November 4, 2014).
- US Labor Department and Federal Communications Commission announce working group to prevent fatalities in telecommunications industry. OSHA News Release, (October 14, 2014).
- Structural Collapses During Construction - Lessons Learned, (1990-2008) (PDF). STRUCTURE magazine. OSHA investigated 96 structural collapses during construction involving fatalities and injuries from 1990 to 2008. Construction errors contributed to 80% of the structural collapses while the remaining 20% of the incidents are attributed to structural design flaws. (December 2010).