On the heels of OSHA's announcement of a new safety campaign concerning construction-related falls, news spread of an ironworker fall at 3 World Trade Center on Aug. 29.
The 36-year-old male ironworker fell Wednesday about 15 feet from a beam while erecting structural steel at the base of the building, John Gallagher, spokesman at Tishman Construction, said in an Aug. 29 statement. Tishman is the 3 WTC construction manager. The worker was alert when taken to Bellevue Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, he adds.
The worker, whose name was not released, is with Falcon Steel Co., Inc., Wilmington, Del. Company officials were unavailable for comment at press time.
"At the time of the fall, he was following all OSHA-prescribed safety procedures," Gallagher says. Work was not stopped at the site, he adds.
The FDNY says it received the call to respond at 1:26 p.m.
The incident follows several others this year at WTC including one at 3 WTC in July in which a beam rolled over and landed on an ironworker as he was rigging a crane lift. He suffered leg injuries. On June 26, a 4 WTC worker slipped and impaled himself on a small steel rod he was carrying in his pouch. The next day, a crane's steel load hit and shattered windows on the 45th and 46th floors of 4 WTC; no injuries were reported in this incident. In February, a crane's cable snapped as it was carrying steel beams up 4 WTC, causing the beams to fall about 40 stories. No one was reported injured.
Steve Rank, safety and health executive director of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, would not comment on any of the incidents but says there have been "hundreds and thousands of tons of structural steel and rebar erected" on the entire WTC site. This "requires special expertise and training by union ironworkers, who have clearly demonstrated this throughout this project."
He adds that Walter Wise, general president of the organization, initiated a zero-fatality campaign this year that focuses on preventing the "deadly dozen hazards." These include lack of fall protection and inadequate use of fall arrest equipment; structural collapse of unsupported reinforcing steel columns, walls and decks; "struck-by" injuries from falling objects, tools and materials; "caught between" injuries during hoisting and rigging operations; and impalement from unprotected reinforcing dowels or other vertical projections.
OSHA says that falls are the leading cause of construction fatalities. There were 264 fall fatalities in 2010 out of 774 total construction fatalities, the agency says.
OSHA, collaborating with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as well as the National Occupational Research Agenda, has launched an outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. The agency's newly launched Web page offers training tools for employers including posters to display at worksites; some of the tools target workers with limited English proficiency.