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A 16-year-old roofer helper dies after 28-foot fall down an unguarded elevator shaft opening - Pennsylvania.

NIOSH 2002 Mar; :1-4
On June 10, 2000, a 16-year-old roofer helper (the victim) died after falling approximately 28 feet down an unguarded elevator shaft opening. The victim's employer (the victim's father) had been subcontracted to put a roof on a two-story commercial office building under construction. On the day of the incident, the victim and his 25-year-old brother were cutting and stacking lumber for roof trusses on the second floor of the structure. To cut the lumber for trusses, the brothers were placing it on wood saw horses. They had set the saw horses up in the vicinity of a 19-foot, 7-inch by 25-foot, 2-inch unguarded elevator shaft opening in the floor. The brothers had been working cutting the lumber since 8 a.m. in the same area. At approximately 2 p.m., the older brother told the victim to pick up the scrap lumber around the saw horses and clean up the work area. The older brother then walked around one saw horse to pick up the circular saw while the victim walked around the other saw horse toward the unguarded elevator shaft. The older brother heard boards rattling and looked up and didn't see the victim. He went to the edge of the unguarded shaft opening and saw the victim lying on the dirt floor at the bottom of the elevator shaft. An employee of the prime contractor working at ground level heard a noise and looked over to see the victim lying on the ground. He ran to the victim, then to the company truck to call 911. The victim had a faint pulse and shallow breathing. When the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responded, they attended to the victim then transported him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1) ensure that all employees are protected from falls when the potential for falls exist; 2) ensure that all employees receive training in hazard awareness, identification, and control; 3) comply with child labor laws which prohibit youth less than 18 years of age from working in occupations that involve roofing.
Region-3; Age-factors; Age-groups; Construction; Construction-workers; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-safety-programs; Traumatic-injuries; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Accident-prevention; Accidents
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health