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Bridge inspector dies after falling from seawall.

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 95MN050, 1996 Feb; :1-4
A 56-year old bridge inspector drowned after falling from a seawall. The victim and a coworker were inspecting a highway bridge over a waterway that connected two bays of a large lake. Although life vests were available in the inspectors vehicle, they were not being worn at the time of the incident. The bridge inspectors were working at ground level on one side of the waterway. A concrete seawall existed along the edge of the waterway. The top of the seawall was wet and slippery due to waves striking it and due to the growth of algae in the water. The inspectors were looking for evidence of structural deterioration in the concrete portions of the bridge. After inspecting the underside of the bridge furthest from the waterway, the victim walked to the edge of the water while the coworker remained in an area away from the waterway. The victim stepped onto the seawall and stood on it with his back toward the water. He was wearing a pair of general purpose "tennis" type shoes. The coworker did not see the victim fall from the seawall but heard the victim strike the water. The coworker rushed to the edge of the water and briefly saw the victim in the water before he disappeared beneath the surface. Rescue personnel were called to the scene and located the victim under water. Resuscitation efforts were performed as the victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. MN FACE investigators concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. ensure that personal flotation devices are available and used when employees work near or over water where the danger of drowning exists; and 2. ensure that footwear appropriate for the work environment is available and worn by employees.
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; Personal-protection; Protective-equipment; Safety-clothing
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-95MN050; 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