An elevator malfunction at the scene of a luxury condo development in New Orleans injured five construction workers July 28 and triggered an investigation by federal safety officials.
The elevator inside The Standard plummeted seven stories to the ground with 11 construction workers inside. Amazingly, only five of the workers were injured and the most serious injury was a fractured foot.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent inspectors to the construction site at South Rampart and Julia Streets to open an investigation. The investigation is still underway. It could take weeks for a preliminary report and months before the agency makes a final report in the case.
Construction workers who were at a neighboring worksite told WWL-TV Channel 4 New Orleans that they heard the sound of the elevator’s emergency braking system before that apparently gave way. The workers’ statements indicate that the construction crew members in the elevator at The Standard may have been able to slow the elevator down enough to avert a major disaster.
Doug Castro with the Global Educational Resource Alliance, which trains OSHA inspectors, told WWL-TV that OSHA will look at the elevator brake system, power, and other factors. He made a special note of a large spring at the bottom of the elevator shaft that likely cushioned the impact of the falling elevator.
“… The great thing about it (is) the spring that’s at the bottom of the elevator,” Mr. Castro told WWL-TV. “If you ask my opinion that has to have been what saved all 11 employees.”