Washington State Department of Labor and Industry describes how a boilermaker fell 65 feet to his death in a scaffold collapse.
State Department of Labor & Industries produces FACE reports
investigating the causes of construction workers deaths. This report
is about a Boilermaker, who was part of a crew welding inside a
tank, who fell to his death when a scaffold collapsed.
Water storage tank construction
Date: September 3, 2002
Welding together sections of large water storage tank
Report No.: 71-5-2002
of Incident: Fall from elevation
On May 13, 2002 a construction
welder was fatally injured when he fell 65 feet after his support scaffold
failed. The victim was a 59-year-old male and a member of the Boilermaker's
Union. He was welding inside a metal water storage tank with other members
of his crew. The workers were using a horizontal welder, which is a machine
on wheels that is designed to travel along the lip of the tank welding the
seams of 8' by 22' sections of sheet metal. The operator sits on a seat
attached to the machine as it travels around the tank. The operator had
left the machine to do something else. The victim (a coworker) got on the
machine to move it. When he was done, he stepped off the machine and on
to the scaffold to go back to his regular work area. The horizontal welder
was still in motion. It's bottom wheels struck something in its path causing
the top wheels to raise off the lip of the tank. The victim ran back to
try and stop the machine. Before he could do this, the machine fell off
the lip of the tank and tore out 20 feet of the scaffold. The victim, scaffolding
and the 2000-pound welding machine fell to the ground.
Indicates items required by law)
the machine moving without an operator at the controls.
Ensure the sensors
that detect obstructions in the travel path are in good working order.
Retrofit older machines with these sensors.
Check for obstructions
along the travel path prior to operation of the horizontal welder.
! Train all workers who may be required to operate equipment.
Design or retrofit
equipment to have backup safety systems in case the primary one fails.
State Wide Statistics:
This was the 28th work-related fatality in Washington State during the
year 2002 and was the 5th construction fatality of the year.