Structural Steel Assembly – Building Collapse Accidents

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan

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Philadelphia Construction Building Collapse Accident at Temple University

Yesterday, yet another building collapse occurred in Philadelphia. Last month’s tragic Salvation Army building collapse accident was followed by a partial building collapse accident on Temple University’s campus. The Salvation Army building collapse resulted in 6 deaths and over a dozen people were injured. Fortunately, yesterday’s collapse accident was not fatal and as of today, only one worker was reportedly injured.

The building involved is under construction on Temple University’s main campus in Philadelphia. One section of the building collapsed, trapping several workers. Iron workers were on the fifth floor when portions of the metal decking beneath them collapsed. There are indications that a failed beam connector caused the collapse of the steel frame. (Source: http://enr.construction.com, Worker Injured When Steel Section Collapses at Temple University)

OSHA Regulations Pertaining to Structural Steel Assembly

Steel assembly is heavily regulated by OSHA, the arm of the federal government tasked with regulating workplaces such as construction sites. Below are just two of the very specific regulations pertaining to structural steel assembly.

1926.754(b)(2). At no time shall there be more than four floors or 48 feet (14.6 m), whichever is less, of unfinished bolting or welding above the foundation or uppermost permanently secured floor, except where the structural integrity is maintained as a result of the design.

1926.754(b)(3). A fully planked or decked floor or nets shall be maintained within two stories or 30 feet (9.1 m), whichever is less, directly under any erection work being performed.

In any major construction/worksite job, there are several companies involved. From concrete and form work to shoring and steel work, literally dozens of contractors and subcontractors are hired to perform work. In many instances, during the bidding process, the lowest bids are accepted. Sometimes, this leads to shoddy work practices. In building collapse situations, we usually see negligence of one or more parties causes the collapse. In such a situation, multiple parties can be held liable in a subsequent tort action.

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