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Workers Hospitalized After Inadequately Secured Beams Fail

Case 1: Two employees were ordered by their foreman to take down a two-ton I-beam about 20 feet long, which they had themselves bolted to shear lugs the day before. The employees stood at opposite ends of the beam, one worker removing the bolts, while his co-worker released a strap, commonly known as a "come-along," that was supporting the other end of the beam. As the "come-along" was released, the shear lugs ripped from the column and the beam dropped, sending both workers to the floor 16 feet below. They were each hospitalized; one worker suffered injuries to his right foot that required surgery. Investigation showed that on the night prior to the accident, a welding crew was assigned to help relocate the beam to a different elevation. They started by securing the beam with the "come-along," then partially cut the beam's shear lugs. This was unknown to the workers the next day, because the foreman did not inspect the shear lugs, even though he admitted he saw the "come-along."

Case 2: Three ironworkers were laying metal decking when the deck they were standing on let go from the support beam. The three workers fell some 13 feet, and were sent to the hospital with injuries. Investigation revealed that the support beam only had a single loose bolt at each connection, instead of two wrench-tight bolts as required by OSHA standards. The support beam rolled, and since the metal decking was not yet welded or secured to the beam, it slid off and carried the workers with it.


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