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Painter falls to his death from a scaffold in Virginia March 24, 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 88-29, 1988 Nov; :1-6
The case of a 30 year old male painter who died as a result of a fall from a scaffold to the street 52 feet below was examined. The employer was a small painting and decorating contractor with no safety program. The victim was painting from a 12 foot long scaffold, suspended 52 feet above the sidewalk. The workers were offered a bonus to complete the job before the deadline. The victim and a coworker were painting about 20 feet above and 4 feet horizontally from a utility pole holding a three phase, 7200 volt power line. A cable dangling under the scaffold was less than a foot from one power line. As the victim attempted to crank the hoist, the cable contacted the energized wire. The two suspension cables from the scaffold grounded out and burned in half, causing the scaffold to fall. The scaffold struck the top of the utility pole, breaking off the cross arm and power lines. The men were thrown from the scaffold. The victim landed on the sidewalk below. Death resulted from multiple traumatic injuries resulting from the fall. The coworker hit a sign, and then jumped to the street from there. He suffered multiple fractures. It is recommended that fall protection equipment be used by workers where there is potential for falls from an elevation. The electrical utility should have been requested to deenergize the lines or cover them with insulating line hoses or blankets. A safety program should be developed by the company to help workers identify and treat hazardous conditions correctly.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-88-29; Region-3; Accident-analysis; Safety-research; Work-practices; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Electrical-hazards; Painters; Traumatic-injuries; 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