Massachusetts Construction Vehicle Accident Critically Injures Worker

An employee in Andover, working on a large bridge project, has sustained massive injuries as a result of a Massachusetts work accident in which he was pinned between two rear tires while at the work site. constructionzone.jpg

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys understand the subcontractor employee is fighting for his life, with major internal and external injuries sustained to his lower extremities.

Investigators are still working to piece together the details, but so far, we know this:

Crews were onsite working on the railroad bridge crossing over the Shawsheen River.

It was shortly before noon when the driver of a tractor-trailer truck was working to attach a trailer to the back of his cab. For reasons that aren’t yet clear, the vehicle shifted, causing the tractor to roll backward. The worker was left pinned.

He was stuck there until emergency rescue crews arrived. Even then, crews weren’t able to lift the extreme weight of the tires until they employed inflatable, pneumatic bags. At that time, he was conscious and alert, but he had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital.

This is quite common in pinning injuries, where the release of pressure on the extremity from removing that heavy object quickly can actually be toxic – even fatal. That’s why in some pinning situations, amputations have to be performed on site.

That does not appear to have been the case here, but we are still awaiting all the facts. An investigation has been launched by the construction company, as well as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and the Massachusetts State Police and local police and fire officials.

OSHA statistics show that the majority of roadway construction injuries occur when a worker is struck by a piece of construction equipment or vehicle. OSHA reports that some 100 highway construction workers are killed each year, and another 20,000 are injured.

In Massachusetts, the Centers for Disease Control reports there were nine roadway construction zone fatalities in 2009 and eight the year before.

In the four years between 2003 and 2007, nearly 640 workers were killed on road construction sites, representing about 8 percent of all construction industry work deaths. More often than not, it was not a passing vehicle that put the workers’ lives in jeopardy.

In more than half of these cases, it’s not a passing vehicle that’s to blame – it’s the equipment and vehicles within the construction zone that are the greatest risk. In fact, 60 percent of road construction site fatalities occurred when workers were struck by mobile equipment or vehicles that were backing up.

Contracting agencies on road construction projects are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Work out a streamlined process for reviewing and approving changes in the work zone set up, as identified by safety concerns;
  • When possible, close the road around active work zones entirely, and reroute traffic;
  • Consider equipping workers with additional safety equipment such as sensors, intrusion alarms and handheld radios.

If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:
UPDATE: Driver pinned at MBTA work site, flown to Boston with ‘life-threatening injuries’, Feb. 13, 2013, By Bill Kirk and Dustin Luca, The Eagle Tribune
More Blog Entries:
OSHA Reminds Employees About Carbon Monoxide Dangers, Feb. 1, 2013, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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