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Worker crushed to death by falling panel at school construction site


A workman was killed after a 500-kg wooden panel fell and crushed him at an elementary school construction site in Tokyo's Toshima Ward, police said Saturday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 1:50 p.m. Friday in Mejiro. TBS reported that the worker, who was in his 50s, was working on the scaffolding on the 3rd floor of the school when a large wooden panel fell directly on top of him. He was knocked down to the ground and remained crushed under the large wooden board. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The wooden panel was being used to build the outer wall of the school. Although the panel had had been placed on the 4th floor, it was hit when a crane was lifting another panel upwards, causing it to topple over and fall onto the unsuspecting workman below, police said.

Officials are investigating the cause of the incident further to determine whether potential charges of professional negligence resulting in death should be considered.

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I cannot even imagine what a 500kg wooden panel would be, but it sounds rather idiotic. Wood comes in beams naturally. To make panels you need to slice up beams and glue pieces together. I cannot think of a singe good reason to make a solid piece of 500kg and move that around when you could construct walls and ceilings with smaller pieces on site.

If this guy had family, I hope they get enough payout to support them for life.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

'Potential' charges of professional negligence? I would say 'definite' charges! Obviously, this guy's hard hat was not enough to save him. I remember seeing contractors wearing hard hats at a school I worked in many years ago. They were replacing portions of artifice turf in the middle of the field, but still had their hard hats firmly planted on their heads. It was quite amusing to me because the only overhead obstacles they faced were meteors. Gotta be prepared, I suppose! Workplace safety has always been a bit of an oxymoron for me in Japan after ten years of workplace health and safety officer in a 300 people plant in Australia. You have carpenters wearing hard hats, but they wear those squishy wet suit boots on their feet. And, you have to love those Aladdin pants all the tradesmen wear. They are perfect for getting caught in every piece if machinery they pass. Don't get me wrong, I am not downplaying the severity of this incident, but all the contradictory safety measures in the Japanese construction industry make me laugh. Remember that young guy a few weeks ago that had a 15 ton concrete slab dropped on him? Why in the hellabet was he working underneath a slab that was being moved? The same goes for this guy. Yeah, the crane 'accidentally' nudged the wooden slab, but he should have been ears up and watching, not ass down and working.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I notice most comments in these cases (work related accidents) immediately wonder about "compensation"... Of course there should be some sort of compensation IF it is proved to be due to negligence however, how about mentioning a little sympathy for the family who lost a son, maybe even another family who lost a husband and a father ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'd say, given that the crane knocked what it with was lifting and in turn knocked the wooden panel over onto the unsuspecting worker that it is most certainly negligence. If the crane operator were not negligent, he would not have hit the panel. Period. RIP to the victim and I hope his family will be okay.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

For those wondering about the weight... It was a wood "panel".. or a "prefabricated" wall. Construction is no longer done on a large scale by one board at a time any more. As far as "fault", the leading foreman is at fault as no one should of been working beneath the load of an operating crane. The crane operator probably did not even realize the gentleman was working below him as the gentleman killed was probably not aware a lift was happening above his head until it was to late. Prayers for the gentleman that was killed as well as his family and for the crane operator as well as the gentleman killed was quite possibly a friend. Very tragic accident.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am no expert, but I can't be the only person who walks past building or construction sites (which is often, in Japan) and thinks "are those guys really on the level when it comes to safety?"

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I lived in Toshima-ward. What school is this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well done, Richard Wood. Beat this contractor to it. It's tragic, but it happens on building sites around the world.

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how about mentioning a little sympathy for the family who lost a son, maybe even another family who lost a husband and a father ?

To what end? I doubt any of them read JT. The sympathy goes without taking up page space. I prefer to consider how things happen, so as to inform JT users and hopefully, avoid having any need for demands to clearly state some sympathy. I prefer to keep my eye on the future.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

BAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS! This elementry school has already killed more people than Fukushima Rad-Con! |rolls eyes|

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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