Master Stonemason Dies in a 30-foot Fall From a Handmade Work Platform Attached to a Powered Industrial Truck
New York Case Report: 07NY107
In October 2007, a 44 year-old self-employed master stone mason (the victim) died after falling approximately 30 feet to the ground from the upper tier of a handmade, wooden, two-tiered work platform. The victim was a subcontractor on the renovation project of a 19th century mansion that included the construction of a second story addition. At the time of the incident, the victim had been applying a stucco finish to the addition and painting metal trim at the edge of the roof from the upper tier of the platform. He was preparing to exit the platform onto the roof. The work platform, used for moving both materials and employees, had been fabricated by the victim and an employee of the general contractor (GC) two weeks prior to the incident. The platform had been fastened to the forks of a powered industrial truck (PIT) known as a telescopic handler. The front guardrails on the upper tier of the platform were not in place at the time the incident occurred. The victim was not wearing any type of fall protection as he worked near the unprotected front side of the upper tier. Safety procedures were not in place requiring entry/exit three-point contact (two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand) and 100% tie-off.
One other worker was on site on the day of the incident. He was an employee of the GC and the same employee who helped the victim build the two-tiered platform. At approximately 3:15PM, the victim asked the employee to lower the platform slightly. The employee stated that he went down to ground level and climbed into the cab of the telescopic handler, waiting for the victim to exit the platform and tell him when he should move the platform. He stated that he could not see what the victim was doing, since the boom of the machine was elevated and the platform blocked his view. He saw a paintbrush fall and then saw the victim fall, landing on the ground at the base of the addition. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead from severe head and upper body injuries.