Video captures drill rig collapsing in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — Video obtained by FOX 13 News shows the moment a drill rig suddenly collapsed at a Salt Lake City construction site late Tuesday.

In the surveillance video shot from a building next to the site at 200 South State Street, workers can be seen walking around the rig for nearly 30 seconds before it leans forward and eventually falls on its side at 9 p.m.

Raw surveillance video below shows drill rig collapsing in Salt Lake City

Drill Rig Surveillance Video

After a short pause, a number of workers are shown rushing to the rig. The operator inside fell about about 20 feet and suffered a fracture in his back, but is currently listed in good condition.

The drill rig operator was a subcontracter with the Morris-Shea Bridge Co. who was preparing soil for foundation work at the site of the future “Astra Tower,” a 39-story luxury apartment building.

Although the rig didn’t damage nearby buildings, it fell on two unoccupied parked cars sitting next to site.

Utah Occupational Safety and Health – which also oversees workplace safety on behalf of the federal government – will investigate the accident. But unlike, for example, cranes, the federal government does not require operators of drill rigs to be certified.

That doesn’t mean they don’t get training. Jeff Anderson oversees the apprentice program at Operating Engineers Local 3, based in Sandy.

FOX 13s Brian Schnee and Nate Carlisle break down the video showing the drill rig collapse

Nate and Brian

“They go for 6,000 to 8,000 hours depending on the occupation,” Anderson said. “So there’s a lot of time involved, learning how to operate these machines, learn how to operate these machines safely.”

Jacobsen Construction on Wednesday said the operator was drilling holes that concrete would be poured into.

“They could have been running two crews trying to get the work done to meet a deadline,” Anderson said, “or trying to get the work done to keep the day shift crew moving.”

“It could have been chosen to be done a night for any of those reasons.”

A spokesman for UOSH declined an interview due to the pending investigation, but said it does inspect drill rigs the same way it does other construction equipment.

Building construction accidents in Utah declined in 2020 – the most recent year with data. There were 1.7 injuries for every 100 workers.

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