NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

A construction laborer was struck in the head and killed by a falling steel beam.

Oklahoma State 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 05OK117, 2007 Jan; :1-7
A 21-year-old Hispanic laborer died on October 29, 2005 from head trauma after being struck by a steel rectangular tube beam. At the time of the incident, the decedent and his coworker were standing on a 32-inch by 48-inch platform that was elevated approximately six feet above the ground by a forklift. They were preparing to secure a steel beam into place that was being supported by a second forklift and wooden post. The steel beam consisted of two 20-foot long sections welded together. The middle of the beam rested on the forks of the second forklift 11 feet, 6 inches above the ground. As the victim and his coworker were preparing to bolt the beam into place, the forklift operator raised the beam to shift it to the south. As he did that, the steel beam came off the south support post and tipped over. The forklift's hydraulic side shift was malfunctioning, but it is unknown whether that contributed to the injury. The beam struck the decedent in the head and knocked his coworker off the platform. A call was immediately placed for emergency response. The decedent was taken to the nearest hospital by emergency medical services (EMS) and then airlifted to another hospital where he was pronounced dead later that same day. Oklahoma Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OKFACE) investigators concluded that to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that employees do not position themselves under elevated loads; 2. Ensure that employees wear hard hats when working in areas where there is a potential for head injury from falling or flying objects and fall protection when working at elevations of six feet or more; 3. Ensure that forklift operators elevate personnel only with approved lifting cages that are properly attached to machinery; 4. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program and training in the language(s) and literacy level(s) of all workers, which includes training in hazard recognition and the avoidance of unsafe conditions; 5. Ensure that forklifts and other machinery in need of repair are tagged and taken out of service until maintenance personnel perform repairs.
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-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Training; Safety-programs; Construction-industry; Construction-equipment; 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-05OK117; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-613938; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008342
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division