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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201353141 - Employee Killed In Fall From Hoist Line On Communication Tow

Accident: 201353141 -- Report ID: 0419700 -- Event Date: 06/25/2006
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31002626506/26/20061731S & W Tower Maintenance, Inc.
On June 25, 2006, Employee #1 was part of a crew that was removing antenna equipment from a 1,900-ft communication tower for placement on another tower. One of the workers was on the ground operating the Hydraulic Power Systems, Inc., hoisting unit. Two workers were at a height of approximately 1,800 ft on the tower, removing the equipment. Once it was free, they would connect it to a 5/8-in. nylon rope, and the hoist operator would lower it to about the 600 ft level of the tower, where Employee #1 was located. He was connected to and suspended by a 1/2 in. wire rope hoist line. Once the equipment reached him, he would connect it to the hoist line, and the hoist operator would then lower him and the equipment to the ground. Employee #1 would disconnect the equipment, and then be raised back up to wait for the next load. During the course of the operations, Employee #1 was being raised when the nylon rope broke. The approximately 100 lb equipment attached to the rope fell from approximately 1,800 ft, as did a headache ball that was also attached to the rope. The broken end of the rope became tangled on the rigging block that was on top of the tower. This caused the nylon rope to suddenly stop, and the shock caused the it to break again at a point just above the headache ball. The nylon rope, headache ball, and equipment fell until they struck Employee #1 on the hoist line. He was connected to the line with a CM chain repair link that was not designed to be part of a personal fall protection or positioning system. The link separated and Employee #1 fell about 550 ft to the ground. He was killed. Subsequent investigation revealed several problems with the hoisting system: the rigging, hoist line, and slings that were used to raise personnel had not been installed with a 10:1 safety factor; Employee #1 was on the hoist line while another load was suspended from the same hoist unit; Employee #1 connected his fall protection/positioning device to a shackle above the hook rather than using a lanyard that had been placed directly on the hook; and no anti-two-blocking device was installed on the personnel hoisting line. It was believed that the nylon rope was cut by the wire rope where they both passed through the same double-block rigging device at approximately 500 ft on the tower.
Keywords: communication tower, hoisting mechanism, rope, work rules, broken cable, construction, fall, fall protection, struck by, hoistline
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Tower, tank, storage elevator Alteration or rehabilitation Under $50,000 1900 X
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 310026265 Fatality Fracture Occupation not reported FallDist:
Cause: Demolition
FatCause: Fall from/with structure (other than roof)

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