Learning from Workplace Tragedies and How to Prevent the Next One

Author: Rene Garcia

Learning from workplace tragedy

Last month has seen several news stories of workplace deaths on construction sites. In St. Paul, Minn., a construction worker was injured by a falling object at the Phalen Regional Park. He later died after being transported to a hospital. In Lansdale, Pa., another worker succumbed to a “construction related injury” and passed away. But not all construction-related fatalities are limited to the workers. Sometimes, bystanders are caught in the event.

The Dallas Crane Incident

In Dallas, Tx., a construction crane collapsed and fell through a nearby apartment complex, destroying several of the floors, and displacing more than 500 of the property’s residents. Tragically, at least one woman died in the event while several more were injured.

Now, at least one resident is suing the crane and rigging company as well the owners of the property that hired the service. The plaintiff is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

Preventing the Next Tragedy

Investigations are still underway, but there is speculation that high winds and operator error are the causes for the crane collapse. The National Weather Service had notified the public of incoming high winds approximately three hours before the incident, and it’s speculated that the crane that fell was locked in place instead of being free to turn with the wind like a weathervane. A second crane that did not collapse was not locked in place.

After a tragedy like this, the natural reaction is to ask the practical questions: Who was the operator? Was the operator adequately vetted prior to entering the jobsite? Was the operator properly trained? It’s unlikely that the property management company that hired the crane could answer these questions before the collapse. When companies don’t have this level of supplier information, they’re exposed to risk that can result in catastrophic property damage, injury, and death. And while not all risk can be eliminated, it can be mitigated through careful vetting of suppliers.

How Avetta Can Help Construction Companies

Safety for employees, customers, and communities is everyone’s responsibility and should be a top priority. Health and safety is even more important in high-incident industries like construction where hazards can be deadly if left unchecked. That’s why Avetta gives members the ability to find vendors, contractors, and suppliers who have a proven focus on safety.

Avetta’s prequalification process makes finding and vetting safety-focused suppliers less burdensome by doing the heavy lifting of collecting and verifying documentation. As such, there’s no question whether a supplier is certified to fulfill the work request. Avetta's SaaS platform is flexible and can be configured to accommodate unique worksite and job requirements.

The vetting process doesn’t stop at the supplier level; instead, Avetta's Worker Management solution provides employee-level visibility to ensure contracted workers are certified and trained to safely conduct the work they are tasked to perform. A single employee making the wrong decision can expose your construction business to a costly lawsuit and ruin your reputation. Avetta helps you mitigate that risk.

Avoiding the Next Workplace Tragedy

Could catastrophes like this be avoided? Avetta is committed to improve workplace safety by helping you qualify your contractors and suppliers ensuring they meet your specific compliance requirements. Providing services like proper training, safety protocols, and vital worker management tools that can prevent construction accidents just like these and, save lives. See how Avetta’s construction health and safety management software can help you.

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