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Report faults operator of drill rig that landed on car in Salt Lake City

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-04 00:41:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The only person injured when a drill rig collapsed earlier this year in Salt Lake City failed to follow the manufacturer’s procedures, according to a report from Utah Occupational Safety and Health.

The agency issued a violation to Morris Shea Bridge Co., the report says. Public records indicate a fine has not yet been imposed. A spokesman for the Utah Department of Labor — which oversees the safety and health office — says the case remains open. He declined further comment.

The rig was drilling holes for a high rise on State Street at 200 South. It overturned the night of March 15 — its mast landing in a lane of traffic on State Street and crushing a parked SUV. Only the drill rig’s operator was injured. The report said he fell 12 feet out of the cab; he suffered a broken vertebra.

WATCH: Video captures drill rig collapsing in Salt Lake City

The report found the operator was moving the rig with its support footings fully retracted and its mast straight in the air. The manufacturer recommends that the footings be as close to the ground as possible, the mast be slightly reclined toward the rear of the rig, and the operator make slow movements one at a time.

Morris Shea and the project’s general contractor, Jacobsen Construction, did not return messages seeking comment.

The collapse is still vivid for Derek Humfleet, manager of Jeanie’s Smoke Shop next to the construction site.

“When the drill fell over,” he said Friday, “it shot a piece of rebar— and it was like 4 feet long and 60 pounds — into the sky so high it landed on top of my roof like a javelin.”

“And it rained really heavy a couple weeks later and the roof just fell in,” he added. “And we went up to investigate why and we found this big piece of rebar stuck into it.”

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Humfleet said he was glad no one else was hurt.

Construction on what will be called Astra Tower has resumed.

Jacobsen Construction issued a statement Friday evening, which read:

"Because the issues are specific to the subcontractor, it wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment on any findings related to them at this time. Work at the site has proceeded safely since then, with strenuous safety measures in place at all times. Worker and public safety is our top priority. This project is an exciting development for the downtown community. Yet, safely delivering the finished building is our highest priority.”