Habitat for Humanity accident prompts OSHA investigation

By  | 

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) A Habitat for Humanity worksite accident is under Federal investigation after a woman was trapped under a giant forklift crane on Tuesday.

For three days, work on the Lemmon Avenue Habitat for Humanity home has stopped after a forklift crane tipped ... trapping an employee for nearly 30 minutes causing serious life-threatening injuries.

The woman, Leah Nixon, was freed by firefighters and was speaking when the ambulance took her away from the scene.

But according to a family member's Facebook post, she is fighting for her life and is possibly paralyzed after three vertebrae were severed.
She also suffered a punctured lung and her right leg was crushed.
Leah Nixon worked as a construction laborer with Back Hills Habitat for humanity and they issued this statement saying ...

"The entire Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity family is in shock about the accident that took place on Tuesday. Our prayers and thoughts are with our team member who was injured. The cause of the accident is not yet known, and we are working with all appropriate entities to investigate. We are committed to understanding what happened so nothing like it could ever happen again. The equipment involved in the incident was operated by trained Habitat staff, and no volunteers were involved in the use of this equipment. Black Hills Habitat prioritizes safety in everything that we do. We will continue doing everything in our power to ensure a safe worksite for our staff and volunteers.

"Black Hills Area Habitat is committed to continuing the mission of the organization and helping families achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter."

OSHA was on the scene Wednesday. They say the investigation could take up to six months.

Black Hills Habitat for Humanity says there has never in their 28-year history been a major safety incident on a worksite before this one and safety remains a top priority.