What could have been a devastating tragedy at the World Trade Center construction site turned into a relatively safe landing as a load of steel girders fell from above almost perfectly onto the flatbed of a sitting truck. There have been mixed reports of only one minor injury and no injuries at all at the construction site crash.
The falling girders were 60-foot-long beams of steel weighing several tons. The girders plummeted nearly 40 stories before coming to rest on the truck. The impact no doubt caused damage to the truck but the miracle lies in the safety of the construction workers on site.
A cable snapped on the crane that was lifting the steel girders to their destination on the new 72-story building, causing the huge load to fall back to the ground below. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) specifically notes that cranes should not be used to move loads above workers. It appears that this was followed at the construction site, saving many workers from serious injury or death.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that construction workers are the most likely to be fatally injured in an on-the-job accident. Statistics from 2009 revealed that one out of every 5 workers killed while on the job were in the construction industry. The good news is that, overall, fatal construction site accidents appear to be decreasing annually.
Aside from fatal construction accidents, nearly 100,000 construction-related injuries and illnesses were reported in 2009. Falls accounted for about 1/5 of the total of injuries and illnesses put together.
Construction of the 72-story building, located across from the World Trade Center Memorial Park, has been partially halted while an investigation into the construction accident is underway.
Source: CNN, “Crane drops steel 40 stories at Trade Center site,” February 16, 2012