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Journeyman pipefitter killed when struck in head by grooved end cap under pressure.

Michigan State University
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 02MI090, 2003 Aug; :1-9
On Tuesday, October 29, 2002, a 49-year old journeyman pipefitter was struck in the head by a 6-inch diameter grooved cap he was removing from the end of a pipe. The pipe had been pressurized to test its integrity and was still under 100 pounds of air pressure. The force of the blow from the cap striking him in the face knocked him backwards over the rail of the scissors lift that he was standing on to a concrete floor 14 feet below. When his co-worker, working on the lift immediately to the left of the victim, heard the noise, he looked to his right, but the victim was already on the floor below the lift. Figure 1 is a photograph of the pipes on which the men were working with the scissors lift (shown in the retracted position) below. The second pipe from the left is the pipe involved in the fatality. It was recessed into the wall opening from the force of the end cap exploding off of it. Another co-worker who heard the noise came to assist and found the victim bleeding from the face and having difficulty breathing. EMS arrived shortly, treated the victim, and transported him to the emergency room of a local hospital. He died in the hospital eighteen hours later. Recommendations: 1. Employers should ensure that their written accident prevention plan identifies and describes all hazards that could be encountered in the worksite and how to recognize and avoid them. 2. Develop a specific standard operating procedure for the task including tagging the valves with time and date of pressurization. 3. Use an end cap that remains attached to the pipe during loosening as the pressure is relieved and prior to removal, or outfit the end cap with a pressure relieving device. 4. Periodically reinforce skill and safety training.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Plumbers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-02MI090; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division