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Description of Accident:

An 18-year-old laborer with an established mechanical contractor was crushed and killed by a falling concrete form. Three weeks before the incident, the contractor had prepared, formed, and poured a concrete wall, 110 feet long, 23 feet high, and 18 inches deep. The pour proceeded correctly and the concrete was cured. The forms were placed in sections, and the sections on both sides of the one in question were removed. The remaining 1,100-pound section was left in place because an extendable forklift could not reach it due to its proximity to other parts of the building. The intention was to rig the last section for lifting and move it by crane to the next location. The section was loosened from the concrete wall without incident. In preparation, the form section was restrained temporarily by two wooden kickers or support beams braced against a concrete dead-man, which was anchored to the ground.

The stripping of the forms left debris in the vicinity. The laborer's supervisor told him to gather the debris and stack it in a neat pile so a crane could lift it and load it onto a truck for removal. The supervisor left the laborer working alone and went to get the rigging for the next part of the task. When the supervisor returned, he found the worker with no signs of life, lying across the dead-man with the form on him. The laborer's chest and lungs had been crushed between the falling form and the dead-man.

There were no witnesses to the incident, and no evidence that the debris pile, which had been picked up and stacked correctly, had moved and struck one or both of the kickers. The kickers had not broken or failed in any obvious way, and there was no evidence that the dead-man had moved. The subsequent investigation was unable to determine positively what caused the kickers to move.

Safety Consideration
  • Do not allow untrained personnel to work alone.
  • Look for potential hazards surrounding every task.
  • Warn workers about hazards.
  • Give workers specific instructions in how to avoid or eliminate the hazards. In this case, the supervisor should have warned the laborer:
    - Not to place the debris pile near the kickers,
    - To minimize or avoid work in the area that would be hit if the form fell, and
    - Not to touch the kickers.
    (It is not known if he did touch them.)
  • When appropriate – not necessary in this case – give workers protective equipment and instruction in its proper use.
Sources of Help
  • OSHA construction standards, Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926, contains OSHA job safety and health rules and regulations covering construction.
  • OSHA-funded free on-site consultation services are available to help small business employers identify and correct workplace hazards, develop or improve an effective safety and health management system, or both. Contact the OSHA regional office in your area for additional information. JSHQ