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Painter dies in 25-foot fall from tank top onto concrete pad, December 8, 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 89-23, 1989 Jul; :1-6
A 63 year old male painter died when he fell 25 feet from the top of a tank onto a concrete pad. The employer was a small painting contractor. The victim had owned the company for most of its 40 year existence, and had sold it to his son a few years prior to the accident. The company had a contract to paint the exterior of several outdoor tanks for a food processing company. The tank involved in the incident was 25 feet high and 10 feet in diameter. On the day of the incident the victim was spraying on the finish coat of paint, a catalyzed urethane, using a boatswain's chair tied off to the guardrail atop the tank. He had reached the top of the tank to tie off the chair by climbing the ladder on the adjacent tank and crossing on small pipes running between the two tanks. After finishing one section of the tank from the chair, he climbed onto the adjacent tank and crossed the pipes once again. While moving the ropes that secured the chair to the guardrail, he slipped and fell through the unguarded 2 foot gap in the rail about 25 feet to the concrete around the base of the tank. There was speculation that the victim blacked out just before he fell. It was recommended that specific job hazards be identified prior to completing the task and that corrective action be taken to ensure the safety of employees, that appropriate safety equipment be used and checked, that the owners of the tanks reevaluate their safety in design, and that the designers of the tanks reevaluate their structure and adjust new tanks to avoid the unguarded section at the top.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-89-23; Region-3; Painters; Traumatic-injuries; Safety-equipment; Accident-analysis; Safety-practices; 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