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Ironworker foreman crushed when bridge support element broke during dismantling.

New York State Department of Health/Health Research Incorporated
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 05NY013, 2006 Feb; :1-8
On February 24, 2005, a 43-year-old male ironworker foreman, who was employed by a construction company, sustained fatal injuries when elements of a bridge support structure he was dismantling broke apart and he was crushed between them at a bridge construction site. On the day of the incident, the victim and a co-worker were dismantling a span of a temporary bridge support. The span was a steel framework consisting of two pairs of 77-foot-long steel W36 I-beams and several W12 I-beams. In preparation for dismantling, a triangular-shaped steel element, called a pile cap, weighing approximately 8,000 lbs., was welded and chained to the ends of the W36 beams by a steel chain. The span was then removed from the support and placed on a floating barge where the remainder of the dismantling took place. At the time of the incident, the victim and his co-worker were on the barge dismantling the third pile cap of the day. To safely dismantle a pile cap, the cap was to be rigged with a crane before cutting the welds with a torch to free the cap from the I-beams. However, prior to the incident, the victim had been seen operating a torch on top of the pile cap that was involved in the incident before the cap was rigged to the crane hoist. The victim was straddling the two sides of the cap near its tip and the co-worker was standing on the base of the cap when the cap suddenly broke away from the I-beams. The co-worker was thrown into the river and was not injured. He swam to the barge and was pulled out of the water. The victim, however, was crushed between the pile cap and the ends of the W36 beams. The cap hung on the chain above the water, with the victim lying on the pile cap partially submerged in water. The site foreman immediately called 911 while other workers got into a motor boat to rescue the victim. They moved the victim into the boat and then onto the riverbank. Resuscitation efforts were performed on the victim before EMS' arrival. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. New York State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (NY FACE) investigators concluded that to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, employers should: 1. Provide task-specific employee refresher training addressing proper dismantling procedures; 2. Strictly follow construction project engineering plans and get approval from the project engineer for any deviations from the original plan; 3. Perform quality control inspections on the jobs and tasks completed during each stage of a construction project; 4. Ensure that all workers use fall protection equipment when there is a potential fall hazard and; 5. Ensure that safe access to working areas is provided to workers at each work site.
Region-2; 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; Safety-programs; Training; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Construction; 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-05NY013; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008474
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
New York State Department of Health/Health Research Incorporated
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division