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Painter dies following a 40-foot fall from scaffold inside water tank in Ohio, November 20, 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 90-16, 1990 Jun; :1-10
A 39 year old male painter died after he fell 40 feet from a scaffold when one of the nylon suspension ropes supporting the scaffold broke. An industrial painting contractor was sandblasting the interior of a 250,000 gallon steel water tank. The victim was the brother of the owner. The victim and a laborer were lowering a U-shaped, four point suspension scaffold on which they were standing, with the help of the owner. The laborer was wearing a safety belt/lifeline, but the victim was not. The suspension rope at the victim's end of the platform broke, and the victim fell about 40 feet to the bottom of the tank. The laborer was able to stand on the other platform leg, and did not fall. The victim died several hours later while on the operating table. The cause of death was blunt trauma to the head and trunk. The rope broke at a point where it had been burned, presumably when steel brackets were welded to the inside top wall of the tank for a fall protection anchor cable. It was recommended that synthetic rope used in suspension scaffolding be protected from heat producing sources; that suspension scaffolding should be constructed and maintained in accordance with OSHA standards; that employers ensure that fall protection equipment is provided and used by the workers; that employers develop and implement a safety program; and that the designers and manufacturers of similar tanks design and install appropriate anchor points for maintenance purposes.
NIOSH-Author; Region-5; FACE-90-16; Accident-analysis; Sand-blasting; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; 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