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Laborer dies from 80-foot fall through a bridge, April 12, 1989.

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 89-31, 1989 Jul; :1-6
A 31 year old male laborer was killed when he fell 80 feet through a section of bridge road surface that broke under him. The employer was a general construction firm that had been in business for 40 years. The employer has written safety policies and procedures, but no formal safety training program. At the time of the accident the victim was part of a ten man crew removing the decking from a 50 year old bridge so that a new roadway could be installed. The victim had cut the steel along the length of the slab. He was wearing a safety belt and a 6 foot lanyard that was attached to an eyebolt on an 8 foot spreader beam which was used to lift the slabs. After making the cuts, he reached up and disconnected his lanyard from the spreader beam so that he could step clear while the slab was being lifted. He had one foot on one of the main support beams and one foot on the slab. Before he could step off the slab, it broke in two, allowing him to fall through the slab to the debris covered ground 80 feet below. It was recommended that workers be able to secure and disconnect fall protection systems from a safe location, that alternative methods of supporting the slab while lifting it from the bridge floor to the truck be considered, and that specific maintenance and repair tasks on bridges and similar structures be designed to match or exceed original design specifications, be inspected, and be documented.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-89-31; Region-5; Construction-industry; Accident-analysis; Construction-workers; Safety-practices; 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