Portable Ladders Case Study
Robin Baker, Robert
Downey, Mary Ruth Gross, Charles Reiter
Labor Occupational Health Program
(LOHP) School of Public Health,
University of California, Berkeley Ca.
|These case studies
are part of tailgate/toolbox talks that were developed for use under
California OSHA regulations. The American Conference of Government
Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has adapted these talks to apply to
federal OSHA regulations.) To contact ACGIH, visit its website (www.acgih.org)
Sheet Metal Worker
Dies After Fall from Ladder A 46-year-old sheet metal worker died when
he fell off an 8-foot stepladder and struck his head on the edge of a
metal floor plate.
The worker was doing sheet metal work on a hospital addition. He and two
co-workers were adding a fire damper (a fire safety device) to a previously
installed sheet metal duct.
The job was difficult, and the sheet metal worker had to move up and down
several steps of the ladder, struggling to make the connection. He was
reaching on both sides of the wall, which was in the framed stage, to
try to make the damper slip into the duct.
At the time of the accident, the sheet metal worker had his right foot
on the 5th step of the ladder, at a height of 4 feet, 9 inches. His left
foot was on the step above. According to a co-worker, the ladder spun
around and tangled his legs in the steps. He fell head first to the concrete
floor, striking his head on a metal floor plate.
One co-worker said the sheet metal worker might have extended himself
out too far from the ladder, or lost his balance.
What should have been done to prevent this accident?
Cal/OSHA investigated this accident and made the following recommendations.
- Ensure that workers
use ladders in a safe manner. For example, workers should not reach
out too far from a ladder, or move too high up a ladder.
- Ensure that portable
ladders are secure.
- Ensure that workers
reposition ladders or use alternate means to access their work.
Case Study is based on an actual California incident. For
details, refer to California Dept. of Health Services, Occupational
Health Branch, Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
(FACE) Report #98CA00601.
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