In Oakland, California, 13 workers were injured on a construction site when a building collapsed, dropping many of them into wet concrete.
While workers were pouring wet concrete to form the second floor of a new parking garage, part of the structure collapsed. As many as 20 workers fell 10-15 feet from the scaffolding, Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Ian McWhorter told the SFGate news source.
None of the workers were seriously injured, but the 13 who were hurt were taken to a nearby hospital with bruises and back injuries.
When police and firefighters arrived on the scene, some of the workers were hanging from the scaffolding, and some of them were standing in knee-deep wet concrete. Other workers rushed over to help, digging furiously with shovels to free the ones trapped.
“It’s kind of like quicksand,” said McWhorter, pointing out that “the on-site construction workers did a great job, along with our members, in assisting those who were trapped.”
The safety inspector for Cen Cal Plastering, Ezaud Duran, was working at the opposite end of the site when he heard a loud, explosive boom, then people screaming. He ran to the scene of the accident, where he found several workers trapped knee-high in wet concrete. According to Duran, it seemed the poles supporting a platform had collapsed.
Randy, a worker at nearby Webster Medical Plaza cafe, was standing outside when he heard the crash and saw the floor drop. “All the guys [around me] started running to find out who’s OK and who’s not,” Randy said, who had grabbed his cell phone and called 911 as he ran toward the site. “There were guys hanging from the metal. There were guys trapped in the concrete that fell, buried in the concrete. It was like quicksand trapping them in there.”
Shortly after the accident, Cal/OSHA was on site speaking with witnesses and contractors, as well as checking safety plans. It was discovered that Largo Concrete, one of the project’s subcontractors, had four investigations regarding accidents in the last five years. Cal/OSHA had also issued them three citations for previous safety violations.