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ACCIDENT SUMMARY - Fall from Elevation

Accident Type: Fall from Elevation Image - Fatal Facts No. 12
Weather Conditions: Cool, Clear
Type of Operation: Exterior Renovation
Size of Work Crew: 2
Collective Bargaining No
Competent Safety Monitor on Site: Yes
Safety and Health Program in Effect: Yes
Was the Work site Inspected Regularly: Yes
Training and Education Provided: No
Employee Job Title: Laborer
Age & Sex: 22-Male
Experience at this Type of Work: 2 Days
Time on Project: 2 Hours


Two laborers were working on a motorized two-point suspension scaffold 70 feet above ground level without safety belts, lanyards, or lifelines. Three wire rope clips forming an "eye'" for connecting the wire rope to the C. hook failed and that end of the scaffold came down. One employee fell to the ground, and the second employee at the other end was catapulted through an open window where he was pulled to safety by office workers. Two of the rope clips were still attached to the end of the rope after the accident. The inside tread of the third clip, which fell, was found to be stripped.


As result of the its investigation, OSHA issued citations for four alleged repeat violations of its construction standards.

OSHA's construction safety standards include several requirements which, if they had been followed here, might have prevented this fatality.


  1. All wire ropes, fiber and synthetic ropes, slings. hangers, platforms, and other sup-porting parts must be inspected before every installation. Periodic inspections also must be made while the scaffold is in use (29 CFR 1926.451(i)(7)).
  2. On suspension scaffolds each employee must be protected by an approved safety life belt attached to the lifeline. The lifeline must be securely attached to substantial members of the structure (not scaffold), or to securely rigged lines which will safely suspend the employee in case of fall. The lifeline must be appropriately adjusted as the work progresses (29 CFR 1926.451(I)(8)).


  • Construction Safety and Health Standards (OSHA 2207) which contains all OSHA job safety and health rules and regulations covering construction
  • Selected Occupational Fatalities Related to Powered, Two-Point Suspension Scaffolds/Powered Platforms as found in reports of OSHA Fatality/Catastrophe Investigations (available from the National Technical Information Service - Order No. PB83-194-050).
  • OSHA-funded free onsite consultation services. Consult your telephone directory for the number of your local OSHA area or regional office for further assistance and advice(listed under the U.S. Labor Department or under the state government where states administer their own OSH programs)

NOTE: The case here described was selected as being representative of fatalities caused by improper work practices. No special emphasis or priority is implied nor is the case necessarily a recent occurrence. The legal aspects of the incident have been resolved, and the case is now closed.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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