Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

Process: Shipfitting


Falls: Case History 1 and 2


A shipfitter was given the job of burning two T-bars inside a trunk.

The trunk was located off of a compartment and had only minimal lighting. The employee stepped inside the trunk thinking that there was a platform at the same height as the opening.

The platform actually was located more than two feet down and he fell. Fortunately, the platform kept him from falling down the entire trunk.

The shipfitter suffered bruises and a leg injury.

diagram: man holding green lead falling in shaft
open vertical hatch with two diagonal bars
Analysis and Preventive Measures

Although inadequate lighting contributed to the accident, there are other contributing factors. There were no warning signs posted to inform employees entering the trunk of the risk or yellow and black caution tape. This accident could have also been prevented by training employees on safe workplace practices, and inspecting the work area.


Two shipfitting employees were leaning on the same fall protection cable. A deck clip broke free and the employees fell toward a three-by six-foot deck opening.

Fortunately, the employees regained their balance and did not fall into the opening.

closeup of broken pipe footing and broken weld joint
two open hatches with damaged guard wire support with red rectangle around broken weld joint and arrow indicating closeup
Analysis and Preventive Measures

The clip was discovered to have an inadequate weld, and the employees should not have been leaning on the cable.

The critical nature of these welds warrant a clear inspection/sign-off process on fall protection measures.


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