TULSA, Oklahoma - The State Labor Department and OSHA are investigating the collapse of a construction elevator that left five workers injured.

The construction elevator and surrounding scaffolding fell over about 9:30 this morning. Since then, several workers at the site have told News on 6 the elevator was shaky and swayed in the wind even when it reached the 11th floor.

Paramedics worked quickly to stabilize and transport five construction workers hurt when the scaffolding fell, as supports for the elevator were being removed. The Tulsa Fire Department said four men were on the open top elevator as it fell. One worker's hat was left underneath and his harness still attached to the railing after the collapse.

Victor Grimes, a Public Information Officer for the Tulsa Fire Department, said firefighters were told: “It just kind of slowly fell over with the workers on top.”

The collapse triggered an alarm and evacuation of the building, but many workers returned to the job site within an hour. The state labor department dispatched an inspector to the site.   They routinely inspect construction elevators for safety.

Emergency crews treat the injured people.

 

Several of the men had bleeding injuries and possible broken bones, but the fire department said the injuries were not life-threatening. One man has a possible broken arm. Another had a leg wound. Two were immediately taken to the hospital with what appeared to be the most serious injuries.

The building was under renovation, by the Ross Group, for use as a hotel. The elevator was used to move workers and lightweight tools.

The state labor department confirmed the elevator scaffolding was being taken apart when it fell. The upper sections had been removed down to the third floor, when the rest fell onto Cincinnati Avenue.  Though the street was open - no cars were underneath it.

The Oklahoma Department of Labor said OSHA would take the lead in the investigation.

Ross Group released this statement:

Today, an unfortunate accident occurred during the removal of a lift hoist at our Tulsa Club project located in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our thoughts go out to our colleagues at Freedom Scaffold who were injured during the incident. Thankfully, no one sustained a life threatening injury, and we are working with the appropriate authorities to secure and clean the site. During this time, please keep those who were injured in your thoughts.

 

Below is the official State Report on the accident.