The airport terminal expansion project in Las Vegas had its second serious accident within four months when a rebar cage collapsed and trapped five ironworkers for half an hour. On June 23, the 70-ft-long cage collapsed on ironworkers at the Terminal 3 project at McCarran International Airport. The workers were attaching interior wire supports for the No. 11-sized rebar cage, lying on the ground lengthwise. The cage was to serve as a structural component of a subterranean roadway bridge in front of the new 1.87-million-sq-ft, $2.4-billion structure.

An unidentified worker used a forklift to elevate the rebar until the Clark County Fire Dept. arrived and the workers could be cut free. The ironworkers were employed by San Diego-based Pacific Coast Steel, which had been on the site since February as a subcontractor to Perini Building Co., a unit of Tutor Perini Corp., Framingham, Mass. Pacific Coast Steel has completed over 1,400 rebar cages at the airport, each weighing up to 30,000 pounds once complete.

The names of the injured ironworkers, members of ironworkers’ union Local 416, were not disclosed. “The worst [injury] was a punctured lung and a fractured hip,” says Randall H. Walker, director of the Clark County Dept. of Aviation, which oversees McCarran. “We’re just really thankful all five of them are going to do well and be fine.”

The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation, as it did with the previous accident at the airport. On February 23, an earthmover’s shovel struck laborer Byron Souza in the head, killing him. It was the first construction-related fatality on a Clark Dept. of Aviation project in over 16 years, reports San Francisco-based construction manager Bechtel Corp.

Nevada safety officials and contractors have been severely criticized over the numerous fatalities on Las Vegas hotel-resort projects in recent years. In response to the criticism, Nevada lawmakers recently passed a law requiring 10 hours of mandatory safety training for new workers.