A federal agency has started an investigation into a scaffolding accident in downtown Fort Worth that critically injured a woman walking on the sidewalk below the scaffolding.
Two workers were also injured — one of whom had to hang onto a building ledge for several minutes before he was rescued. They were treated at the scene Wednesday afternoon.
The condition of the woman was not available on Thursday.
OSHA officials have opened an investigation into the accident which happened shortly after 12:30 p.m. on 2nd Street in front of the Renaissance Worthington hotel. Workers for Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. were on the scaffolding at the time resurfacing some of the brick exterior.
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A construction elevator on the outside of the building partially collapsed onto the sidewalk, authorities said, reportedly trapping two people.
It’s still unclear how the accident happened. Officials with Whiting-Turner could not be reached for comment Thursday. The building is owned by Sundance Square Managment.
Fort Worth city spokesman Kevin Neal said the city’s transportation and public works department issues permits for scaffolding that extends over the public right of way.
”The city does not have any kind of inspection role in this regard,” Neal said in an email.
OSHA spokesman Juan Rodriguez said he could not discuss details of the federal investigation.
“OSHA has up to six months to investigate,” Rodriguez said in a telephone interview. “We’ll go to the accident scene and look at the equipment, gear and the area around where the accident occurred.”
Second Street between Houston and Throckmorton streets remained closed Thursday for safety reasons. Officials didn’t say when it would reopen.
Whiting-Turner was hit with another construction tragedy in March 2018 when a construction worker died in an accident in Columbus, Ohio, according to OSHA records.
On March 9, 2018, an employee was attempting to clear debris from a trash chute while standing on the debris in a 30-yard dumpster, according to OSHA. At some point, he stepped backwards, fell over the edge of the dumpster and landed head-first on the asphalt, dying from severe head injuries.
OSHA officials issued Whiting-Turner two serious violations and fined the company $25,868. The company has contested the violations, according to OSHA records.