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Hispanic laborer drowns after falling into landscaping pond.

Oregon Department of Human Services
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 03OR008, 2003 Nov; :1-5
On May 2, 2003, a 23-year-old male Hispanic laborer drowned after falling into a landscape pond. At the time of the incident, the victim was standing on an incline at the edge of the pond and a coworker was working nearly directly above him on a steeply sloped access to the pond's edge. The victim was placing large rocks on the banks to prevent erosion and sediment accumulation in the pond. Immediately before the incident a wheelbarrow load of rocks had been delivered to the victim. Following the incident, the wheelbarrow was found lying on its side with the rocks strewn down the slope, towards the victim's position. According to the employer, the victim may have slipped at the waters edge and lost his footing while attempting to avoid being struck by falling rocks from the wheelbarrow. As the victim was falling into the pond he reportedly reached out and grabbed the hand of his coworker and they were both pulled into the water. The coworker attempted to locate the victim, who was now under the water, but was unsuccessful. The employer stated that neither employee knew how to swim. The coworker managed to get out of the pond and went to a nearby house on the property to call 911. Local Fire and Rescue units arrived on scene but were unable to immediately locate the victim. Another fire district, with a dive team, located and recovered the body 47 minutes after the original 911 call. Resuscitation efforts were attempted, but were unsuccessful and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the Deputy County Medical Examiner. 1. Special precautions should be observed when working on or near the edge of the water. Grab lines, life preservers or rings, fall prevention or poles should be strategically situated or worn for immediate use. Workers should be instructed in basic water safety or lifesaving skills and should wear approved personal flotation devices. 2. A competent person should inspect and evaluate the work site to identify hazards, and ensure that workers receive appropriate instructions in safe work procedures and the use of personal protective equipment. 3. When working at a location that is more than 3-5 minutes response time for emergency medical services, workers should be trained in CPR, first aid, and basic emergency response skills. 4. Consider alternative tools or equipment if work practices or the environment make standard equipment choices impractical or unsafe.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Work-environment
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-03OR008; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-021204; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008324
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Oregon Department of Human Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division