Boynton Beach Construction Accident Kills Two When Wall Collapses

Two construction workers at a worksite in Florida died in an accident involving a concrete wall Tuesday morning, according to authorities.

The Boynton Beach Police Department told Newsweek that initial reports showed two workers were inside a construction site at the Riverwalk Plaza when a concrete wall fell on them, ultimately killing them. The Public Information Officer (PIO) said they don't know what the construction crew was doing with the wall when the accident occurred.

Assistant Chief Jarvis Prince of the Boynton Beach Fire Rescue Department initially told WPTV the deaths were caused by a crane collapse at the construction site just before 10:30 a.m. The PIO clarified with Newsweek the crane had nothing to do with the deaths but was used after the fact "to remove the wall to render aid to the two construction workers."

The incident is the most recent among several worksite-related accidents that have gotten national attention, including one earlier this month when a Florida man was killed in a bulldozer accident while the landfill he was working at was shutting down for the day. In January, a workplace accident in Maine led to a man's arm being severed, and in December 2021, firefighters in Florida rescued two construction workers who were trapped about 70 feet above the ground after a scaffolding collapse.

Prince told WPTV by the time he arrived at the scene in Boynton Beach, the incident was already under investigation and the victims were covered up. He added that police had investigated the crane operator on duty at the time but would not release any additional information.

The names of the two constructions workers have not been released. No other injuries have been reported so far. The incident is under investigation by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and information about the accident could change based on its investigation, according to the PIO.

Newsweek contacted OSHA regarding the accident and a spokesperson said the agency has "initiated an inspection into this tragic event" but wasn't able to provide any additional details at this time.

The incident occurred at the construction site of a residential building with stores on its street level. The project to construct the 10-story luxury apartment building consisting of 320 units and 50,000 square feet for retail space started in 2021 and is expected to be completed within two years, according to Florida YIMBI.

Meanwhile, Tuesday's incident is the most recent occurrence of individuals being killed by construction walls. In December 2020, two construction workers became trapped after a 9-foot retaining wall collapsed on top them in Brooklyn. More than 100 firefighters rushed to the scene to try and save them, but they ultimately died, CBS News reported.

In May 2021, a 55-year-old man was killed after a concrete wall collapsed on top of him while working in the backyard of his Massachusetts home. The initial investigation said the man was believed to be working on the house's foundation when the wall fell and pinned him to the ground, the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office said in a statement, according to Boston.com.

The construction industry had 1,102 fatal injuries in 2019, which accounts for 20 percent of all workplace fatalities in the United States. The most common type of fatal injuries come from falls, slips and trips, which account for nearly 38 percent of all construction fatalities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Update 3/22/22, 3:50 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information, and the headline was updated to clarify that a crane had not collapsed.

Emergency 911 Scene - stock photo
Two construction workers were killed at a work site in Boynton Beach, Florida, on March 22 when a crane collapsed. Above, a stock image of an ambulance and fire truck. katifcam/Getty Images