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Maintenance technician drowns after falling from a turbine support-ring platform at a hydroelectric power generation facility in South Carolina, March 26, 1991.

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 91-16, 1991 Aug; :1-9
The case of a 40 year old male maintenance technician who drowned after falling 2 feet from a turbine support ring platform into a pool of water about 30 feet deep was investigated. The employer was an electric utility with about 20,000 employees that had a full time safety officer and required the use of personal protective equipment issued to the employees. The victim had worked for this company for 14 years. The employer was modifying its hydroelectric generators to increase their output capacity. The victim and a coworker had been lowered by basket approximately 30 feet into a 15 foot diameter hydroelectric turbine draft tube to install structural steel supports. Both technicians left the basket to inspect welds on the support beams they had finished earlier. The victim walked along a wooden plank, to continue the inspection. Welds on the structural steel supporting the planks failed, and the victim fell into the water. He could not swim and quickly sank to the bottom of the draft tube water outlet. It was later determined that the metal around the manway was gray cast iron (pot metal) that had been in place since 1916. It was recommended that hazards be identified prior to working in any given area; that each employee be instructed in the recognition, prevention and avoidance of unsafe work practices; that all employees participate in worksite hazard surveillance and reporting, and conduct scheduled and unscheduled inspection stops.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-91-16; Accident-analysis; Electric-power-generation; Work-practices; Maintenance-workers
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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