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ACCIDENT SUMMARY - Fall from Elevation

Accident Type: Fall from Elevation Image - Fatal Facts No. 16
Weather Conditions: Clear
Type of Operation: Plumbing Contractor
Size of Work Crew: 30
Collective Bargaining Yes
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: Plumber
Age & Sex: 37-Male
Experience at this Type of Work: 3 Weeks
Time on Project: 2 Hours


Employees were working on structural steel, hoisting pipes from ground level to higher levels for storage. While guiding a pipe to be stored on the floor above, one employee walked backwards off the end of a stored pipe. He fell about 12 feet to a concrete deck, suffering a fatal head injury.


As a result of its investigation, OSHA issued a citation alleging one serious violation.

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


  1. Employers must require the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment (safety belts) wherever employees are exposed to hazardous conditions. (29 CFR 1926.28(a).)
  2. The derrick or erection floor must be solidly planked or decked over its entire surface except for access openings. Planking, or decking of equivalent strength, must be thick enough to carry the working load. Planking must not be less than 2 inches thick full size undressed and should be laid tight and secured to prevent movement. (29 CFR 1926.750(b)(1)(i).)
  3. A safety railing of ½ inch wire rope or of equal strength must be installed approximately 42 inches high around the periphery of all temporary-planked or temporary metal-decked floors of tier buildings and other multi-floored structures during structural steel assembly. (29 CFR 1926.750(b)(l )(iii).)


  • construction Safety and Health Standards (OSHA 2207) which contains OSHA job safety and health rules and regulations (1926 and 1910) covering construction.
  • OSHA Safety and Health Training guidelines for Construction (available from the National Technical Information Service Order No. PB-239-309/SET) designed to help construction employers establish a training pro gram in the safe use of equipment, tools, and machinery on the job.
  • 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 section where states administer their own OSH programs).
  • Courses in construction safety are offered by the OSHA Training Institute, 1555 Times Dr., Des Plaines, Ill. 60018 ((312) 297-4810).

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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