NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Carpenter dies from injuries sustained after falling approximately 20 feet while doing earthquake repair work in California.

Public Health Institute
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 94CA003, 1994 Dec; :1-3
A 42-year-old white, non-Hispanic male carpenter (the decedent) died from injuries he sustained on February 11, 1994, when he fell 19' 3" from the ledge from which he was working. The decedent was repairing dry wall cracks in a commercial building which occurred because of the January 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake. He was in a coma for 4 months before dying on June 12, 1994. There were no witnesses to the incident although co-workers were at work in the general vicinity. The decedent was not wearing any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the time of the incident. According to the employer, the decedent was "taping" joints in preparation to painting the wall. The ledge on which the decedent was working was 11 inches wide and 30-35 feet long. One end of the ledge ended at a wall and the other at a guardrail separated from a work area on the same floor. There was an unprotected 31 inch gap between the end of the ledge that abutted the wall and the neighboring work area. The victim apparently tried to jump this 31 inch gap, lost his footing, and fell to the ground. He sustained severe head injuries after his head struck a concrete ledge at ground level. A company security guard called the in-house fire department which arrived in approximately 15 minutes and an ambulance was also summoned. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that in order to prevent any similar future occurrences, employers should: 1. require the use of fall protection equipment by all employees who work at heights mandated by regulation or where temporary guardrail protection is impractical. (Please see note regarding fall protection regulations on page 6.) 2. require the use of ladders, aerial lift devices, or scaffolds for work performed at heights exceeding 15 feet for work surfaces less than 20 inches in width. 3. have a method for assuring employee compliance with safe work practices as part of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
Region-9; 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; Occupational-hazards; Personal-protective-equipment; Ladders; Scaffolds; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-programs; Construction-equipment; Construction-industry; Construction-workers
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-94CA003; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division