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Construction laborer dies after falling through temporary bridge "catch" platform, 75 feet to ground.

New Jersey 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 07NJ077, 2011 Jun; :1-10
A construction laborer fell 75 feet to the ground after falling through a temporary wooden platform during a bridge renovation project. The worker was not equipped with fall protection, and no fall protection system was in place. The wooden platform, also referred to as a "catch" platform, was intended to collect debris generated by work on the bridge deck. However, it was not uncommon for workers to use the platform as a walking or working surface. The victim fell through the temporary wooden platform immediately after he stepped down from a steel structural I-beam onto one of the wooden planks, which broke into two large pieces. The road and bridge construction company was working on a bridge located on a major New Jersey highway when the fatal event occurred. The company employed union laborers for this large-scale, multi-year construction project. NJ FACE investigators recommend following these safety requirements and guidelines to prevent similar incidents: 1. Personnel working at heights of six feet or greater should have effective fall protection and prevention. 2. Temporary surfaces that are accessed and used by personnel must be designed, maintained, and inspected to assure that they are safe. 3. Surfaces that are not designed for worker access use must be clearly identified and entry to those areas must be prevented. 4. Wooden planks or other materials used for temporary work platforms and the supports that hold them in place must be designed and made of material that can support at least four times the maximum intended weight. 5. Catch designs and/or construction procedures that hold individual planks together to prevent shifting of the planks should be employed. 6. Employees must be trained to report any problems with wooden decking planks that might be damaged or planks that have their integrity compromised. Companies must designate a person to actively survey the planks and promptly replace any planks that have compromised integrity. 7. A safety and health plan based on a job hazard analysis should be developed by the employer and followed for each communications tower where workers are assigned tasks.
Humans; Men; Accidents; Construction; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Traumatic-injuries; Injuries; Morbidity-rates; Mortality-rates; Hazards; Workers; Work-areas; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Personal-protective-equipment; Road-construction; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Injury-prevention
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-07NJ077; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008485
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
New Jersey Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division