Construction co. shares info on equipment failure that injured operator, damaged cars in downtown SLC

An drill rig operator was injured and two parked cars were damaged when the rig collapsed on March 15, 2022. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 16, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Jacobsen Construction has offered updated information on the equipment failure Tuesday night that caused the collapse of what was reported to be a crane, which fell onto two parked cars and caused injuries to the rig operator.

The equipment that failed was a drill rig, and the injured operator, who works with subcontractor Morris-Shea Bridge Company, suffered a fracture in his lower back, which the Jacobsen statement is not serious.

The injured man fell or jumped an estimated 15 to 20 feet as the equipment collapsed. The two cars parked at the downtown Salt Lake City location, which ended up under the broken rig, were unoccupied.

Jacobsen is the company building the Astra Tower, a 39-story, 680,000-square-foot luxury apartment building.

“This morning, we are happy to report that the drill rig (not crane) operator’s supervisors have updated us on his condition this morning, and the report is good; he was diagnosed to have a small fracture in his lower back, and latest reports are that there will be no treatment other than rest, and that it is expected to heal in time and not be a long-term health issue,” the Jacobsen statement says in part.

A construction machine operator was injured and two cars were damaged when a drill rig, originally believed to be a crane, fell in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

“He was said to be bruised and sore, but in good spirits. Some breaking broadcasts reported earlier that the rig operator was in critical or serious condition, which was fortunately not the case.

“Following the incident, we activated our response teams, which are trained and prepared for circumstances like this. We don’t yet have all the details of how this occurred but are suspending operations for 24 hours while gathering information for a safety investigation.”

An drill rig operator was injured and two parked cars were damaged when the rig collapsed on March 15, 2022. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

The statement says Jacobsen officials “are cooperating with authorities and doing everything we can to address the situation for those traveling on the impacted street. The equipment that fell into two southbound lanes of traffic on State Street will remain in place for 24 hours; traffic will be diverted during that time.”

The company’s statement said training is ongoing “to help our workers to be as safe as possible as well as to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an incident like this. We are thorough in our planning, training, inspection and operation of rigs and cranes….

“We are committed to learning as much about what caused this and taking proactive steps to ensure the continued safety at this project site.”

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