On September 14, 1993, a 33-year-old, male carpenter (victim) was killed as a result of traumatic head injuries sustained during an approximate 12-foot fall from a ladder. The victim was applying sheetrock mud to a wall/ceiling joint in the woodshop classroom of a vocational-technical school. The victim apparently lost his balance and fell from a ladder to the concrete floor, a distance of 11.5 - 12.5 feet. He apparently landed on his back and head, sustaining a head injury. Although the fall was not directly observed, a co-worker heard the victim hit the floor and found him lying unconscious near the ladder. Emergency medical personnel arrived three minutes later, and observed the victim sitting up. He appeared to be disoriented and combative. He had no obvious external head injury, other than a bump on the back of the head, but he was beginning to develop a black eye. He was restrained by EMS personnel, placed on a backboard, and had a cervical collar applied. He was then transported to the local emergency room. During the trip to the hospital (approximately five minutes) the victim developed seizures, and lost consciousness. The emergency medical technicians also noted the presence of bloody sputum coming from his mouth. He then developed respiratory distress, which progressed to respiratory arrest. The EMT's initiated CPR in route to the hospital. The victim's condition continued to deteriorate after admission to the hospital. He died approximately 3 hours later. Based on the findings of the epidemiologic investigation, to prevent similar occurrences employers should: 1. develop and institute a hazard communications program. 2. conduct a general hazard assessment prior to beginning any job or work task. 3. consider the use of mobile scaffolding or other types of work platforms, instead of ladders. 4. ensure that work materials and tools are properly used; and 5. appropriate officials should ensure that victims of traumatic occupational fatalities receive an autopsy to determine the specific pathophysiologic circumstances of the death.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-10; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Scaffolds; Ladders; Construction-workers; Construction-industry