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Deaths Due to Constructing Masonry Walls

Case Reports

The following Case Reports of accidents investigated by OSHA illustrate how seemingly innocent workplace activities can have deadly consequences.

  • In inclement weather, a 34-year old worker was positioning vertical and horizontal rebar for a cap tie beam to be poured the next day. Potent, gusting winds caused a free standing masonry block wall to collapse, fatally injuring the employee. Bracing and shoring could have prevented the collapse, or lessened the impact.

  • Three concrete finishers were working in the basement of a home under construction, placing cement for the basement floor. A cement truck was parked two feet away from the west wall, unloading 6 yards of cement into the basement. The 2-foot area around the foundation had been backfilled about an hour and a half before the cement finishers began their work. One of the employees directed the cement chute, starting at the northwest corner of the building. By the time he got to the southwest corner, the truck was empty. Suddenly, the west wall collapsed, crushing him to death. The other two employees were able to escape with only minor injuries.

  • An employee and two co-workers were erecting 8'x35' pre-stressed concrete wall panels. They would set the panel, then anchor the bottom, and then unhook the panels from the crane. Three panels had already been set, and the victim was atop the panels waiting for the welder to finish anchoring the bottom of the third panel. The panels began to tip outward and slowly fall, and the victim fell or jumped, landing in the path of the falling panels. He died from the head injuries he sustained.

  • The victim was a member of a crew that was erecting tilt-up wall panels around the perimeter of the slab floor of a one-story warehouse. The last three wall slabs were being hoisted into place with two 12-foot nylon web slings in a basket hitch. While the second panel was suspended in preparation for being set, it tilted in the sling and slid slightly, cutting through one sling and partially through the other. The erection crew scattered as it dropped, but the victim stopped momentarily to look back as he fled the building. Just then, the upper edge of a previously set panel, which had been dislodged by the falling panel, fell on him. He was crushed and killed.
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