Anatomy of a workplace fall
Moving a ladder while a co-worker remained on the ladder platform led to a fall that – six months later – proved fatal, according to a Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) report from NIOSH.
The incident occurred on December 12, 2015, when two men employed by a municipality were dusting crown molding in a meeting room inside city hall. The 68-year-old victim had finished dusting a section of molding and the ladder needed to be moved to continue the task.
How it happened
From the report:
The co-worker started to move the ladder while the victim remained standing on the ladder’s platform. When the co-worker was engaging the ladder’s wheels, the ladder shifted and started to tip. The co-worker tried to stop the ladder from tipping, but could not, and both the ladder and the victim fell.”
EMS and the local police arrived within minutes. The victim was transported to a local hospital and was eventually released, but he was paralyzed as a result of the incident. He died about six months after the incident from complications of the injuries he sustained during the incident.
Contributing factors identified in this investigation included:
- Moving the ladder while a worker was standing on it;
- Not using the ladder manufacturer-provided outriggers;
- Lack of training on the ladder being used; and
- Lack of a safety and health program.