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Collapsing floors at Boston construction site injures 3 workers

The construction of any new building can pose risks for workers at the construction site. Falling objects are a common source of injury at a high-rise construction site. City officials say that several floors pancaked after the highest floors under construction buckled under dead weight. Three workers suffered various levels of injury when the top floors came crashing down. One of the workers suffered serious injuries and underwent surgery at an area hospital. One of the workers checked himself into the hospital for treatment -- he was released a short time later.

City officials in Boston believe that construction materials were hoisted to the top floor, which first caved in. The mayor of Boston says that city investigators believe that a load of rebar was resting on a crossbeam and the weight of the construction materials appears to have been too great for the structure. The rebar had been placed at or near the top of the structure to prepare for a concrete pour.

The top floors of the unfinished building collapsed down to the fifth floor. A witness says that she was looking out the window when a beam fell, zipping past a worker. That worker then fell with the building as the floors began to drop.

City, state and federal authorities are looking into the Boston collapse. It could take months for any findings from the investigation to be revealed. Authorities say that roughly 120 workers were at the construction site in the Theatre District on Lagrange Street in Boston. The site is the scene of a 33-story apartment complex, which is expected to be completed sometime next year.

Worksite safety issues can be complex. Construction projects may involve a wide number of contractors, subcontractors and work projects all sharing the same space. Injured workers may understand that workers’ compensation laws are in place to provide workers with important rights. But, if a third-party at a construction site is negligent in injuring a worker, the victim may not be aware that third-party claims generally are not barred by a workers’ compensation claim.

Source: Boston Herald, “Authorities investigate Chinatown construction collapse that left 2 injured,” Laurel J. Sweet and Richard Weir, March 20, 2014

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