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Construction worker falls head first into 16-foot concrete pit - Iowa.

NIOSH 1997 Mar; :1-3
A 57-year-old construction worker was killed when he fell through plastic sheeting covering a recently-constructed concrete pit. The footing for the new pit was one foot above ground level and the entire pit was covered with a temporary 2" x 4" frame and plastic sheeting to help the concrete cure. There was no guard railing around the pit for it was to be covered with a permanent cover of heavy wire mesh within a few days. The victim had just finished a break, and was returning to the worksite. He was following his supervisor walking around a 4-foot concrete footing that was adjacent to one corner of the new pit (see photo 1). The supervisor heard a grunt and turned to see the victim crouched on his knees at the edge of the pit with his arms stretched out on the 2" x 4" frames. Then he saw the man attempt to get up, then fall through the plastic into the 16-foot deep pit. The man landed in 1 1/2 feet of water in the base of the pit and received fatal head injuries. He died a few hours later in the hospital. Apparently the victim was retrieving something he had dropped on the plastic when he lost his balance and fell forward, or he may have slipped on the icy ground and fell. He was not wearing a hard hat. Autopsy results ruled out heart attack or other vascular/seizure disorders that may have preceded the fall. Recommendations based on our investigation were as follows: 1. The hazardous area around a pit or dangerous opening should be protected with barricades, guard rails, or colored banner tape [CFR 1926.501(b)(4)(ii)]. 2. The employer should train supervisors and workers to work safely in and around machinery pits. 3. Workers should wear a hard hat while in areas where there is danger from impact, or from falling or flying object [CFR 1926.100 (a)].
Region-7; 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; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Construction-workers; Warning-signs; Supervisory-personnel; Safety-helmets; Training
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-96IA065; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health