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Texas construction worker's head crushed by elevator

Somehow, the car in an elevator shaft that a worker was standing in at a Texas construction site activated recently, crushing the man’s head and causing life-threatening injuries. This terrible incident likely will only contribute to Texas’ reputation as among the most dangerous states in the country to work in construction.

The victim was working on a skyscraper in downtown Austin called the Colorado Tower that is under construction. On April 9, he was in an elevator shaft, removing old radio communications towers, when the elevator suddenly came to life. The car came down onto him, pinning his head between itself and some concrete.

Rescue workers freed the worker and rushed him to the hospital. He was still alive as of that evening, according to KXAN-TV, but the station described his injuries as critical.

As is generally the case, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation into this construction accident. Among the questions investigators will probably have: how did the elevator start while the victim was working underneath it? Was it supposed to be shut off under state or federal regulation? Was the victim provided with sufficient safety equipment, given the risks of his task?

Construction accidents frequently cause serious injury. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in Texas. The Workers Defense Projects says that the state is the deadliest one for constructions worker, noting that 126 workers were killed in construction accidents in Texas in 2012.

Accidents like this one can deeply affect the livelihood of the victim’s family. If the victim is killed, the family is permanently left without his or her companionship, and his or her income. If he or she survives, the injury could take months or years to recover from, if he or she ever does.

Source: KXAN-TV, “Worker hospitalized after being pinned in elevator shaft,” Jackie Vegas and Omar Lewis, April 9, 2014

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