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A plant operator at a coal fired power generation plant in Texas, died when he fell between the bypass dampers located in the flu gas desulfurization unit.

Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
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 98TX235, 1998 Dec; :1-5
On April 10, 1998, a 32-year-old, male plant operator (the victim) was performing regularly scheduled maintenance on bypass dampers in the flue gas desulfurization unit at a power generation plant. The victim descended a ladder to the level of the bypass dampers which are eight feet below the walking surface and 41 feet above the bottom of the shaft. The victim attempted to retrieve a piece of plywood left nearby. He was wearing a full body harness but did not immediately hook his safety line to the cable that had been installed as part of a fall protection system. The victim took one step forward, reached down, and retrieved the plywood. When he stood up and stepped back, he fell between the damper blades to the bottom of the shaft 41 feet below. The victim struck his head on a cross member that was approximately two feet up from the floor. Emergency medical service personnel entered the shaft through an access door located at the bottom of the shaft and then transported the victim to a local hospital. The TX FACE investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Design a fall arrest system and include it as part of the required personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees who perform work in this area. 2. Provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. 3. Perform a job safety analysis (JSA) to determine what hazards employees may encounter while performing their work. 4. Develop an emergency action plan for employees that describes the rescue and medical duties to follow and ensures that all employees are knowledgeable of those procedures.
Region-6; 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-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Training; Electric-power-generation; Maintenance-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-98TX235; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-613936
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division