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Female cement finisher dies in 165-foot fall at construction site in South Carolina, August 25, 1988.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 88-42, 1988 Dec; :1-5
The case of a construction worker who died when she fell 165 feet from a high rise office complex was examined. The worker was employed by a multistate multidivisional corporation employing 14,000 workers in its construction division. There was a comprehensive written safety program, and daily tailgate meetings were held by crews at the worksite. She had been employed for only 4 days with this firm but had previous high rise construction experience. The victim and a coworker engaged in patching holes and rubbing out rough spots on the thirteenth floor decided to return to ground level for lunch and pushed the call button for the hoist. The victim leaned back against the gate to wait for the hoist. The gate swung open and she fell 165 feet to her death, listed as due to multiple trauma. The gate was secured by a padlock on a U-shaped latch; the hoist operator indicated he had not raised the hoist to the that floor level that morning, and the hoist operator had the only key. Subsequent damage to the gate (caused by the descending elevator) prevented a determination of what caused the gate to open. It is recommended that employers stress the necessity of safe work habits to all employees. Leaning against an outer perimeter barrier was a poor safety practice which resulted the death of this worker. Since the accident, the employer has performed random stress tests on padlocked gates. Safety bars have since been added on all gates to prevent the doors from opening to the outside.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-88-42; Region-4; Accident-analysis; Safety-research; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Work-practices; Traumatic-injuries; Hoisting-equipment; Construction-Search
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division