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Crane operator dies after being crushed by collapsed brick building wall.

Minnesota Department of Health
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 94MN020, 1994 Aug; :1-3
A 48-year-old male crane operator (victim) died after being struck and crushed by a portion of a brick building wall which collapsed. He and five coworkers were removing the roof of a two-story commercial building that was being renovated at the time of the incident. It had been vacant since being extensively damaged by fire two years earlier. A 75-ton crane parked near the building was used to lift sections of the roof from the building and lower them to the ground. The construction workers used chain saws to cut the wooden roof trusses and the roof into sections approximately 25 feet square. Before a section was completely cut free, holes were cut in each corner and chains were attached to the wooden roof trusses. Cables were attached from the crane to the chains attached to each corner of the section being removed. The crane securely held the roof section in place as the final cuts were made to completely detach it from the building. The construction crew was removing the second to the last roof section when the incident occurred. The victim was standing near a second story window using hand signals to communicate with the crane operator. As the section was lifted free of the building, a 4-foot high brick parapet wall above him suddenly collapsed inward and fell on him. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. ensure crane operators use two-way radio instead of line of sight hand signal communication with coworkers; and 2. ensure all free standing walls more than one story in height are supported with lateral bracing.
Region-5; 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; Protective-measures; Construction-workers; Construction-materials; Equipment-operators; Demolition-industry
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-94MN020; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division