Workers in the construction industry are exposed to major hazards every day. And while many injuries that construction workers suffer are minor, it is easy for negligence to cause devastating accidents. This country is no stranger to major construction accidents, stretching all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. Here are some of the country’s worst construction accidents that resulted in new safety standards.
- In 1978, dozens of workers working on a nuclear cooling tower fell to their deaths after a scaffolding collapsed at a Willow Island, West Virginia construction site. The collapse was caused by a series of errors, shortcuts and accidents. These 51 deaths led to a reformation in the nuclear construction industry with a focus on worker safety.
- In 2008, a crane used in the construction of a New York City apartment building collapsed onto East 51st Street, crushing seven people. OSHA’s investigation into the accident found that the company had received several safety citations that were disregarded.
- In West Virginia in 1927, construction began on the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel. As workers dug the tunnel, they discovered deposits of silica. The owners then decided to mine the silica to make glass products. Over 1,000 workers died as a result of exposure to the silica, which lodged in their lungs, causing silicosis and occupational lung disease. Laws were passed following the incident to protect miners from occupational lung disease.
- You know this story. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of the United States exploded due to a series of egregious safety violations. 11 people died in the explosion, which led to one of the worst environmental disasters in modern history, the BP oil spill. Since the accident, the oil industry has made several changes to prevent another disaster like this from occurring.
Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”