3 Terrifying Workers Comp Accident Stories
According to the Occupational Safety & Hazards Agency (OSHA), construction workers are the private sector workers most likely to be injured on the job. In 2016, 21.1% of all worker deaths occurred in the construction industry. While safety procedures help protect workers, frightening accidents can still happen. Let’s look at three truly scary construction accidents:
Collapse of Washington Dulles Airport Tunnel
In November 2000, during expansion and renovation of Washington’s Dulles Airport in northern Virginia, a 770-foot tunnel collapsed with four construction workers inside. Three workers escaped, but one man remained trapped, and he died in the wreckage. It took nearly 200 people and rescue workers five days to recover the body. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry fined two construction companies over the collapse, citing missteps and oversights.
Los Angeles MTA Tunnel Explosion
In 1994, three welders were dismantling a digging machine in a Los Angeles subway tunnel, when they were caught in an explosion: A chunk of metal fell from a conveyor belt and pierced a can of acetylene, causing a flash fire. The fire seriously burned two of the workers, and one was near death. The third suffered more minor burns and smoke inhalation.
The workers sued their employers. During the trial, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Ibanez said that he believed trial testimony showed that contractor Parsons-Dillingham and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority acted in “callous disregard” for the workers’ safety.
Ultimately, the case was settled out of court. The welders received $12.3 million in compensation.
Boston Big Dig Worker’s Skull Impaled
In July 2000, during work on Boston’s massive Central Artery/Tunnel Project, also known as “the Big Dig,” a bundle of steel cross-braces fell from a crane onto worker Natalio Elias. One 8 foot brace impaled Elias’s skull, leaving him pinned in the 5×7 hole where he was working. Because of the small size of the work area, rescue workers had to cut off the ends of the brace to extract him, leaving 14 inches of brace protruding from either side of Elias’s skull.
Miraculously, Elias lived, but he suffered permanent brain damage. The engineering and design firms involved, as well as a subcontractor, settled with Elias for $8 million plus payment of all future medical expenses.
If you believe you have been hurt on the job, let the skilled litigators and workers’ compensation attorneys at Lowenthal & Abrams help. Contact us now for a free consultation at 888-979-7298.