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Maintenance technician dies after falling eight feet from ladder.

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 98MN064, 1999 Jun; :1-7
A 51-year-old male maintenance technician (victim) died of injuries he sustained after he fell approximately eight feet at a food processing facility. The victim and a coworker were preparing to modify chemical lines in a room that contained liquid chemicals used to clean and sanitize food processing equipment. One end of a catwalk that was used to access service valves in the chemical lines was fastened to a wall of the room. The other end of the catwalk was supported by stainless steel framing resting on the floor. A fixed stainless steel ladder was fastened to the end of the catwalk to provide access to it. A stainless steel pipe was mounted horizontally near the ceiling of the room. The pipe was located 40 inches above the surface of the catwalk and 16 inches out or away from the top of the ladder. The coworker briefly left the room to get a saw and other tools while the victim climbed the ladder to access the catwalk. When he neared the top of the ladder, he apparently struck his head on the stainless steel pipe mounted overhead. The collision with the pipe caused him to fall to the base of the ladder where he fell backward and sustained an injury to the back of his head. The coworker reentered the room and found the victim lying on the floor near the base of the ladder. On-site emergency medical personnel were immediately called to the scene. A call was placed to local emergency personnel who arrived at the scene shortly after being notified. They transported the victim to a nearby hospital for treatment. He was transferred to a major medical center where he died approximately five hours after the incident. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should ensure that the following guidelines are implemented and followed: 1. ensure all fixed ladders are designed and built in accordance with established safety standards and regulations; 2. whenever possible, employers should provide stairs instead of ladders as a means of access to elevated work platforms; 3. ensure employees wear appropriate head protection in all work areas; and 4. ensure all elevated platforms are equipped with adequate guardrails.
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; Protective-equipment; Protective-materials; Safety-helmets; Ladders; Food-processing-industry; Food-processing-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-98MN064; 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