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Housing project partially collapses, injuring 12 workers

A little more than five hours from Pasadena, California, a dozen construction workers are very fortunate to be alive. In Oakland, a large housing project partially collapsed, sending the workers tumbling into wet concrete.

An Oakland battalion chief said that it was about 9:30 a.m., last Friday when the workers were pouring concrete. The deputy chief of the department said the workers were all extricated safely after they fell 10 to 15 feet in the wet cement. Some workers were hanging from scaffolding.

The 12 workers suffered minor injuries and were transported to local hospitals for what was described later as "scrapes and bruises." The workers who were not injured in the incident or caught on scaffolding were praised by the battalion chief for getting the workers stuck under small debris free and to medical attention. Most of the workers who were trapped in the cement were trapped up to their knees.

It is not known what caused the incident, but the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) will be investigating. Federal records indicate that the general contractor and the concrete contractor have been cited in the past for safety violations. The general contractor has been cited six times in the last five years for safety conditions and permitting. The concrete contractor was cited five times in the last five years, including a violation for unsafe work conditions and their injury prevention program. Twice the violations involved accidents, and fines of $8,655 were issued.

When an accident like this occurs, there are dozens of people affected -- from the workers to their families to the inspectors and more. It's important that the workers make their workers' compensation claims for medical expenses and any wage losses, as this could have an effect on the workers' families and their financial future.

Source: Las Angeles Times, "12 Injured After Large Housing Project Under Construction Partially Collapses in Oakland," Riya Bhattacharjee and Bigad Shaban, May 26, 2017

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