NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Master stonemason dies in a 30-foot fall from a handmade work platform attached to a powered industrial truck.

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 07NY107, 2012 May; :1-18
In October 2007, a 44 year-old self-employed master stone mason (the victim) died after falling approximately 30 feet to the ground from the upper tier of a handmade, wooden, two-tiered work platform. The victim was a subcontractor on the renovation project of a 19th century mansion that included the construction of a second story addition. At the time of the incident, the victim had been applying a stucco finish to the addition and painting metal trim at the edge of the roof from the upper tier of the platform. He was preparing to exit the platform onto the roof. The work platform, used for moving both materials and employees, had been fabricated by the victim and an employee of the general contractor (GC) two weeks prior to the incident. The platform had been fastened to the forks of a powered industrial truck (PIT) known as a telescopic handler. The front guardrails on the upper tier of the platform were not in place at the time the incident occurred. The victim was not wearing any type of fall protection as he worked near the unprotected front side of the upper tier. Safety procedures were not in place requiring entry/exit three-point contact (two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand) and 100% tie-off. One other worker was on site on the day of the incident. He was an employee of the GC and the same employee who helped the victim build the two-tiered platform. At approximately 3:15PM, the victim asked the employee to lower the platform slightly. The employee stated that he went down to ground level and climbed into the cab of the telescopic handler, waiting for the victim to exit the platform and tell him when he should move the platform. He stated that he could not see what the victim was doing, since the boom of the machine was elevated and the platform blocked his view. He saw a paintbrush fall and then saw the victim fall, landing on the ground at the base of the addition. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead from severe head and upper body injuries. New York State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (NY FACE) investigators concluded that to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, employers and contractors (general and independent) should: 1. Strictly follow the manufacturers' instructions on proper usage of the powered industrial trucks (PITs) such as telescopic handlers, and never use any PITs as man-lifts or equip them with any form of personnel work platform, if they are not so designed. 2. Require that powered industrial trucks, such as telescopic handlers, are not modified or authorized to be modified in any way. 3. Perform a hazard assessment before starting any work project that involves material movement and the lifting of workers in order that the correct equipment is selected for use. 4. Develop and implement a fall protection plan that includes training and equipment requirements to protect all employees, subcontractors and site workers who may work at heights six feet or more from the ground or lower story. 5. Require that all workers who operate powered industrial trucks (PITs) have received the required training and are certified to operate the specific machinery in use at a work site. 6. Establish and clearly communicate an enforcement policy for all employees, subcontractors and site workers that states that work practices are expected to be performed in a manner consistent with applicable ANSI regulations, OSHA standards and company health and safety policies and consequences will be applied if there is a failure to do so. Accountability for ensuring that compliance is maintained is the responsibility of the employers and contractors, including general contractors on a multiemployer work site. Additionally, 1. Local town governing bodies and codes enforcement officers should consider modifying building permit applications to require building permit applicants to certify that they will follow written fall protection plans in accordance with applicable standards and regulations, for any projects that involve working at heights above 6 feet, before the building permits can be approved. 2. Local town governing bodies and codes enforcement officers should receive additional training to upgrade their knowledge and awareness of high hazard work, including work at elevations.
Region-2; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Author Keywords: powered industrial trucks; PIT; telescopic handler; telehandler; rough terrain forklift; all terrain forklift; homemade platforms; makeshift work platform; unapproved forklift platform; modification to forklift; modifying a forklift; stonemason; work at elevated heights; masons; chimney 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-07NY107; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008474; B08292012
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