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Posted on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 : 2 p.m.

Cause of morning construction accident under investigation; workers released from hospital

By Heather Lockwood


Emergency workers load a man involved in an accident at the underground parking structure construction site in downtown Ann Arbor into an ambulance Tuesday morning.

Heather Lockwood |

The cause of a construction accident in downtown Ann Arbor this morning involving two workers is under investigation, and the men have since been released from the hospital, said Christman Co. vice president Pat Podges.

Podges said the two men involved in the accident at the construction site for the underground parking structure being built next to the Ann Arbor District Library on South Fifth Avenue are workers for a steel company that is a sub-contractor of Christman.

The men were working on a metal rebar wall — used to reinforce concrete— when it started to fall shortly before 9 a.m. and "they rode it down about 30 feet," said Joyce Williams, Huron Valley Ambulance public affairs manager.

Williams said both men were taken to University of Michigan Hospital in stable condition.

Ann Arbor Fire Department battalion chief Steven Lowe said earlier today that one of the men was lifted by a crane and loaded onto an ambulance shortly after 9 a.m.

Podges told this afternoon that “both men have been released from the hospital with no injuries," but he declined to elaborate.

Heather Lockwood is a reporter for Reach her at or follow her on Twitter.



Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

@ rebel.yell Yeah, I know MIOSHA will look into it, but it would have been nice for the article to say that and save you the time. Heck the writer could also have cited the standards you found fairly readily. "it sounds like the workers were performing this task per MIOSHA standard except the rebar wall was not supported to prevent collapse and/or they were not using sufficient fall protection." Two pretty serious violations particularly when they fell 30 feet. " From what I hear, this type of work is not out-of-the-ordinary in the industry." Are you trying to say that that makes it acceptable? It is called cutting corners and putting someone's life in jeopardy for money. The 6 foot limit is a reasonable number as a 6 foot fall should not result in death or even serious injury; although that is possible. But what about 5 times that height AND falling onto / with rebar. Also construction lawsuits can drag in the owner.


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

I didn't mean to have my comments sound so confrontational, I was just hoping to shed some light on the discussion. Agree with you on all your points above. When I said that the work was not out of the ordinary I was referring to having the resteel workers climb the steel to complete their work, not the avoiding of the safety standards.


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

Pretty much conjecture here until there is a formal investigation, but it sounds like the workers were performing this task per MIOSHA standard except the rebar wall was not supported to prevent collapse and/or they were not using sufficent fall protection. From what I hear, this type of work is not out-of-the-ordinary in the industry. I hope for a fast and full recovery for the workers. @abc I think MIOSHA investigates the construction site and the location of the accident immediately after an accident such as this. I assume they will be doing the intial investigation as well as a report and will levy/collect any fines against the employer or the controlling contractor.


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

From the MIOSHA Conrete Construction Standard: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> R 408.42518 Reinforcing steel. Rule 2518. (1) An employee who is placing and tying reinforced steel and who works from reinforcing steel more than 6 feet above an adjacent working surface shall use a personal fall arrest system as prescribed in Fall Protection, Part 45., R 408.44501 et seq. (4) Reinforcing steel or walls, piers, columns, and other similar vertical structures shall be guyed, braced, or otherwise supported to prevent collapse.


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Will this story have a follow up? Construction sites are inherently dangerous places but 30 feet! This is not a typical construction accident where one person makes a mistake and hurts themselves. For whatever they were standing on to collapse (rebar is not a wall – it could have been a cage of rebar but not a wall) is a systemic breakdown. Who on site determined that two workers could climb on something not strong enough to hold them? …and to be 30 feet above the deck at that? Should they have had safety harnesses? What does OSHA have to say about this? And who is 'investigating' according to the article? OSHA? Christman? The police? Another organization? Also while you show the workers 'loaded' into an ambulance you also report that they were said to have 'no injuries'. No injuries after 30 feet? None? Is Christman under playing this? Has someone or will someone be inquiring further.

Rich Rezler

Tue, Mar 8, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

This story was updated to fix a typo.