A 22 year old female white firefighter trainee fell 28 feet from a cat ladder to concrete the second day of her initial training. She was climbing a cat ladder on a training tower in full turnout gear (jumpsuit, firehood, socks, boots, turnout coat and pants, helmet, gloves, and a spanner belt around her waist from which hung a fire axe) late in the afternoon near the end of the second full day of training. No water was being used in the training, therefore all surfaces were dry. It was partly cloudy, humid and 67 degrees at the time of the incident. The police report indicates that witnesses saw the victim stop and put her arms around the ladder, then fall backward off the ladder, head and shoulder hitting the concrete below. No one heard the victim say anything prior to or during the fall. The victim was not carrying anything during the climb. No fall protection devices were used for this training as is standard procedure (the spanner belt mentioned above is a tool, it is not used to secure a firefighter to equipment or structures). The fall occurred at about 3:40 PM and caused traumatic head and neck injuries. First aide was supplied immediately by Fire Department personnel at the scene. The victim was taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead at 5:45 PM. The Wisconsin FACE director concluded that, in order to prevent similar occurrences, the employer should: 1. For training purposes, consider using a flexible cable system on fixed ladders. Such a system consists of a tensioned steel cable with a safety sleeve that runs the entire length of the climbing area. The worker connects to the sleeve prior to climbs. 2. Review present heat exhaustion and/or dehydration policy for trainees to determine if any changes are needed.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Women; Ladders; Training; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Heat-exhaustion; Fire-fighters