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Iron worker dies when struck by falling steel header beam.

NIOSH 2008 Jul; :1-9
On August 20, 2007, a 49-year-old male ironworker was struck by a falling steel ceiling header beam while he was removing a vertical 2- x 8-inch lumber support under one of the ends of the header beam. The decedent and a coworker had previously installed two C10 channels to sandwich a hollow cinder block wall separating a new building addition from the existing building. After the hollow wall was partially demolished for access between the addition and the existing building, the decedent installed a continual steel plate at the base of the sandwiched wall to complete the header for the access way. On the day of the incident the decedent and the same coworker arrived at the jobsite to install steel channels on each side of the access way opening from the floor to the header. The crew unexpectedly found screwed, epoxied 2- x 8-inch lumber on the north and south door walls. The coworker pried off the north board without incident. The decedent removed the screws on the south board, twisted the board, and then used a hammer to hit the base of the board, releasing it from the wall. As the decedent turned, the header beam came down, striking him in the head and landing on his legs. His coworker ran to another person on site and asked him to call 911. The coworker returned to the decedent and attempted to move the beam with a pole. Unable to move the beam, the coworker applied pressure to the decedent's head to control the bleeding. After calling 911, the other person on site retrieved a jack from his vehicle to raise the beam. This jack could not raise the beam, and a second jack was retrieved. Using two jacks, the beam was raised from the decedent. He was taken by emergency response to a local hospital where he died four days later. Recommendations: 1. Professional expertise should be obtained in writing prior to contractors making structural support changes necessitated by jobsite conditions. 2. Jobsite protocol should include employees reporting unexpected or new work site conditions to the home office or to the general (controlling) contractor to ensure enough information is gathered to proceed with an alternate work plan. 3. General (controlling) contractors should report alterations and changes in work site conditions to appropriate subcontractors who could affect the safety of subcontractor personnel. 4. General contractors should ensure that all required documentation is available on site. 5. Temporary shoring (support) systems should be approved by a qualified professional engineer and identified by the contractor who installed it. Steel erectors should insist that the controlling contractor provide them with the required written notifications regardless of job size.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Safety-monitoring; Safety-programs; Training; Work-operations; Work-areas; Safety-engineering; Construction-industry; Construction-workers
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-07MI106; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University