A man suffered serious injuries to his legs after a three-ton steel I-beam fell on him as he was working at a site in Benicia the morning of December 20, 2012. According to a Bay City News report, the construction accident occurred at the Unico Mechanical Corp., 1209 Polk Street. Co-workers helped free the man, officials said. He had been pinned under the beam for about a minute after it fell from its chain-and-hook grip while being lifted with a crane. The co-worker ended up using the crane to move the beam off the victim.
The man, believed to have been 19 or 20, was transported to a local hospital with injuries to both legs, but he is expected to survive. The incident is being reviewed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). Unico Mechanical is a heavy industrial machine shop that provides services including repairs, restorations and parts manufacturing, according to the report.
My thoughts and prayers are with this injured construction worker. Given the size and weight of the steel beam, it is indeed fortunate that he was not fatally injured. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
What Caused This Incident?
Based on this news report, it appears that the load that was being carried by the crane dropped on the worker pinning him underneath it. However, it is unclear as to how or why this incident occurred. Was there a malfunction with the crane? Was this accident the result of a defective product or part? Was the worker properly trained for the job? Was the crane operator distracted or otherwise inattentive? Was the load oversized? Were the workers being properly supervised at the time? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.
Compensation for On-the-Job Injuries
In such cases, injured workers can file for workers’ compensation benefits seeking compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. However, California workers’ compensation benefits are woefully inadequate when it comes to covering serious injuries. In such cases, it would be in victims’ best interests to look into whether they have a third-party claim, which is usually filed against a party other than an employer whose negligence may have caused or contributed to the incident.
Examples of third parties include contractors, sub-contractors, property owners, manufacturers of defective products and equipment maintenance companies. An experienced California construction job injury attorney will be able to advise workers and their families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.