Equipment Type

Worker Pinned by 7-Ton I-Beam Hammer

Survives, rescued in less than 20 minutes

April 06, 2017

A seven-ton I-beam being used to drive steel sheeting into the ground fell onto a construction worker in Queens, New York, Wednesday. The I-beam was attached to a crawler crane with a cable during a procedure in which the beam was being used as a hammer. When the cable snapped, the beam fell but became tangled with some steel sheeting, pinning the construction worker's lower legs but preventing him from taking the full impact of the beam.

Photo: FDNY Facebook

FDNY Deputy Chief James DiDomenico said his crew had three issues to deal with when they arrived on the accident scene in Kew Gardens on Queens Boulevard at about 10:20 a.m.

"The first issue was stabilizing the scene, because the hammer was leaning up against the steel sheeting and we were concerned about the hammer falling further and causing very serious injury," Didomenico said. The worker was pinned and injured, but still alert.

"We stabilized the hammer using ropes, a griphoist and some struts. Once we had it stabilized, rescue paramedics administered medical care to the patient. He was conscious the entire time."

DiDomenico said he decided that rather than lifting the 7-ton hammer, he chose to dig underneath it to free the worker because that was an easier, quicker and safer operation. The operation took less than 20 minutes.

“If the whole thing had come down on him it would have been a much worse outcome,” Didomenico said. “But because it partially caught some of the steel sheeting, firefighters and EMS came in and were able to stabilize that so it didn’t come down any further.”

"What you saw take place here that quickly and that efficiently was due to constant training,” says FDNY Deputy Chief James DiDomenico. “This doesn’t happen every day, thank God, but we are ready for this.”

The construction worker suffered two broken legs and was transported to Jamaica Hospital.

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