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Day laborer at boat dock drowns after falling into river.

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 08NY021, 2010 Mar; :1-5
In April 2008, a male day laborer at a boat dock on a river drowned after falling into the water. The victim had been unemployed, but was retained by the dockmaster to assist with transferring floating boat docks from a storage area into the river for the beginning of the boating season. At approximately 11:00 AM, the victim and his friend were standing in the parking lot near the seawall awaiting instructions from the dockmaster when the victim reportedly tripped or stumbled and then fell into the river through an opening in the seawall barrier. Once in the water, the victim remained visible to his co-workers for only a few seconds. The workers immediately called 911. One of the co-workers dove in to save the victim, but could not locate him. None of the workers were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) and there were no life-rings at the scene. The New York State Police (NYSP) scuba diving team, local and State police, paramedics, and fire department responded to the scene. The victim was recovered at 1:35 PM. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner's report indicated that the victim may have consumed alcohol and over-the-counter sedative medicine prior to the incident. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to drowning. 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 PFDs and ensure that workers wear them when working on or near water; 2. have life-rings readily available for workers who work on or near water; 3. provide a standard height railing or other means of fall protection where fall hazards exist; 4. develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive written safety program for all workers that includes training in hazard recognition and the avoidance of unsafe conditions when working on or near water; and 5. address the issues related to drug and alcohol in the workplace through enforcing a clearly defined company policy. Additionally, employees should strictly follow the company's drug and alcohol policy.
Region-2; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Marine-workers; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Training; Alcoholic-beverages; Substance-abuse; Drug-abuse
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-08NY021; 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