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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14447981 - Employee Drowns After Falling Into Elevator Pit

Accident: 14447981 -- Report ID: 0552700 -- Event Date: 07/10/1985
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
287364407/11/19851795Blue Earth Excavation Inc
Employee #1 was removing iron T-rails from the south elevator shaft of a 9-story building that was being demolished. He wished to use these rails to construct a homemade sawmill on his farm. Employee #1 was very fussy about the condition of the rails, and all bolts, nuts, and washers were saved. At the time of the accident, Employee #1 had been working sporadically in this shaft for two days. A coworker, a former Marine Corps instructor, had shown him how to use a rappelling belt the previous week, and a coworker had helped Employee #1 remove some rails from the shaft the day before. On the day of the accident, Employee #1's girlfriend, with whom he had a date that evening, had visited the site looking for him at approximately 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. but could not find him. Coworkers then began to look throughout the building, but without success. Hospital security personnel joined in the search, and around midnight, the superintendent and coworkers entered the sub-basement near the south elevator pit. A lifeline was dangling down the shaft into the 26 in. of water that had accumulated in the bottom of the pit from watering during the demolition process. When the searchers pulled on the lifeline, Employee #1 rose to the surface of the water. The coroner reported he had drowned. It appears that Employee #1 had been knocked out after falling approximately 35 ft from the underside of the elevator car where the compensating chains were being moved. There were no witnesses. Employee #1's time of death was placed at 5:00 p.m.
Keywords: unconsciousness, demolition, lifeline, construction, fall, fall protection, drown, elevator shaft
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 2873644 Fatality Asphyxia Supervisors, n.e.c.

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