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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201116886 - Employee'S Leg Fractured By Flying Water Pipe Bulkhead

Accident: 201116886 -- Report ID: 0950643 -- Event Date: 10/17/2003
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12031636910/23/20031623Spiniello Companies
On October 17, 2003, Employee #1 was part of a three-man crew working on a water main in a 3 ft deep by 4 ft wide by 6 ft long hole. Employee #1 entered the excavation to remove an 8 in. bulkhead that had been installed temporarily and to replace it with an 8 in. nipple. A coworker brought over tools while a second coworker, who was the leadman, used a forklift to remove the steel plate. Employee #1 removed the bracing around the bulkhead and the hose, and then loosened the six bolts on the 50 1/2 lb bulkhead. After parking the forklift, the leadman returned, He put one foot in the hole on top of the bulkhead, and had his other knee on the street. He used a "dig bar" to remove dirt from around the "bell" portion of the pipe so he could get a saw behind it. Employee #1 was taking one of the nuts off a bolt when the leadman heard a loud noise and the bulkhead blew off. He fell into the hole, landing on top of the pipe. Employee #1 asked him if he was OK. He said he was, and asked the same. Employee #1 replied that he thought his right leg was broken. The coworkers helped Employee #1 out of the hole and put him on the ground. The leadman called the supervisor, who notified paramedics. Employee #1 suffered a compound fracture of his femur and was taken to Sherman Oaks Hospital, where he was hospitalized for seven days and underwent two surgeries to place a metal rod and locking screws in his leg. The water main had been flushed a few days before the accident. The leadman later stated that when he came over after securing the forklift, he saw that the bracing and hose had been removed and thought that Employee #1 had opened the valve to relieve pressure in the line, which is normal procedure.
Keywords: fracture, pipe plug, work rules, construction, high pressure, struck by, water pipe, flying object, pressure release, leg
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Pipeline Maintenance or repair $500,000 to $1,000,000
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 120316369 Hospitalized injury Fracture Laborers, except construction FallDist:
Cause: Trenching, installing pipe
FatCause: Struck by falling object/projectile

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