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Workers safety threatened in parking ramp collapse

Construction work is dangerous work, and threats to workers' safety are not always obvious. This fact became all too apparent to workers building a parking structure in Ohio last month, when a major workplace accident occurred.

At 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, the parking deck at a casino that is under development suffered a partial collapse. A 60-foot-by-60-foot section of the deck collapsed while 52 workers were present. The parking structure is being built for the Horseshoe Casino, which is scheduled to open in March 2012.

Cleveland emergency personnel arrived on the scene shortly after the collapse occurred. A spokesman for the Cleveland Fire Department said that the collapse occurred while workers poured concrete on the second level of the structure.

The parking structure is being built across the street from the casino, which is located at Ontario and Prospect in Cleveland. All 52 construction workers at the scene were accounted for. Surprisingly, no one was injured in the deck collapse.

In initial reports, safety officials said that workers would not be allowed back to work until the site was deemed safe for the workers.

Shortly after the collapse, city and federal safety inspectors allowed the crew to resume work on the undamaged portion of the parking structure. With the cause of the collapse still under investigation, worker safety remains a serious concern.

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland is the first of many casinos scheduled to open in cities across the state. Other locations planning to open casinos in the near future include Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo. The collapse is not expected to delay opening.

Whether it's a push to meet deadlines or a desire to reduce costs, employers encourage workers to work under dangerous and unsafe conditions all too often.

Sources:," Floor Collapses at Casino in Cleveland," Dec. 16, 2011, "Workers Continue Casino Work Following Collapse," Dec. 19, 2011

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