© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

OSHA office starts investigation into hangar collapse

Julie Luchetta
Boise State Public Radio

Officials are working to determine what caused the catastrophic collapse of a hangar in Boise that killed three construction workers last week.

Director of the local Occupational Safety and Health Administration office David Kearns said catastrophic events of this scale are unusual and a reminder to prioritize workers’ safety.

“That's really the number one takeaway we can take after a major tragedy like this,” he said.

Kerns added tragedies like these are often preventable but his office will not be able to provide answers on what might’ve happened for a while. Investigators will have to do interviews and look through a lot of documentation.

“Then there is the physical evidence side,” he added. “That may be some of what's most complex when it's, you know, all in a great big, large pile of steel on the ground.” 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction sites, and those involving steel framing in particular, are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the U.S..

Kearns said that’s because construction sites have lots of moving pieces and potential hazards to workers.

“Which is why probably more than 50% of the inspections that we do here in Idaho are construction, even though construction is much less than 50% of the total workforce,” he said.

Kearns said his office investigates incidents every year but this one is of a noticeably larger scale. OSHA citations for violations have to be issued within six months of an event.

“Because of the nature and the complexity of this, I would fully expect that we're going to need most of that six months before we're going to be ready,” he said.

I joined Boise State Public Radio in 2022 as the Canyon County reporter through Report for America, to report on the growing Latino community in Idaho. I am very invested in listening to people’s different perspectives and I am very grateful to those who are willing to share their stories with me. It’s a privilege and I do not take it for granted.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.