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Police Probe Cause of Japan Beam Drop

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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Area police are looking into potential safety management issues at the site of a fatal construction accident in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture.

The incident took the lives of two workers and injured eight others Friday (April 22) at an expressway bridge under construction in Kobe, multiple sources reported.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. a 120-meter (about 394 feet), 1,350-ton bridge beam being lifted by a crane fell to the roadway about 20 meters (about 66 feet) below, Japan Today stated.

The workers who died were identified Saturday (April 23) as Keisuke Fukuda, 32, of Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, and Yukihisa Tanaka, 37, of Konohana Ward, Osaka, according to The Japan News.

Among the injured, four, aged 19 to 35, sustained serious injuries, including a fracture, Kobe fire officials reported.

No one traveling on National Route 176 passing beneath the bridge construction was affected by the collapse.

Expressway Project

The victims were reported to be among a crew of 50 building two bridges for the Shin-Meishin Expressway, scheduled for completion by February 2017.

The girder was to be installed as part of the 500-meter-long Arimagawa Bridge portion of the expressway project, connecting Kobe to Mie prefecture, Shanghai Daily reported. The bridge crosses a national highway and the Arimagawa River.

West Nippon Expressway Co., which operates the highway, subcontracted the construction work out to general construction company Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. of Tokyo and Yokokawa Bridge Corp. of Chiba.

A worker for Yokokawa Bridge indicated a “relatively difficult construction method was being used for the bridge beam,” although the method was not specified.

All work on the highway was suspended as of Saturday morning so that safety checks could be conducted.

Police Investigation

The Hyogo prefectural police began their on-site investigation Saturday as well, looking into questions of professional negligence resulting in death and injury, The Japan News reported.

The police inspection determined four jacks had been placed on top of the western side of a bridge pier to support the girder, but two of them fell.

According to the police, Tanaka was positioned on the western side of the girder when it fell, and Fukuda was on the eastern side.

West Nippon Expressway Co., which is one of the main operators of expressways and toll roads in Japan, indicated the girder had initially been placed at one end of the bridge and then moved into position. The temporary installation was completed on April 1.

The western end of the girder was held in place with cables after being placed on the four jacks on the bridge pier; temporary framework supported the eastern end.

Sources said a crane had raised the eastern end of the girder Thursday so the temporary frames could be removed, which was part of a plan to affix the girder to the bridge piers on April 30.

According to reports, the western end of the girder and two jacks suddenly fell on Friday the temporary frames were being taken apart.

The investigation into what caused the two jacks to fall continues.

 

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Asia Pacific; Bridges; Construction; Cranes; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Fatalities; Health & Safety; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Roads/Highways; Safety; Steel

Comment from Thomas Van Hooser, (4/26/2016, 8:47 AM)

Incidents such as this will continue to occur where management fail to adopt viable risk assessment, quality and safety programs.


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