Summary Statement

A toolbox talk on preventing falls from debris piles. Includes questions to ask, an incident to discuss with images, and a place to record questions the trainer would like to ask about the incident. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

How do we prevent falls from debris piles?

Ask the following questions and give time for answers.

  • What are the hazards? Falls due to work on disaster site debris piles
  • What are the results? Broken bones, internal damage, cuts, entrapment, death
  • What should we look for? Uneven surfaces, shifting debris, unstable structures, entanglement, holes, hot surfaces

Relate this incident or, better, one you know. Draw out lessons learned.

Actual Incident: An IUOE member working at Ground Zero several weeks after the attacks left his backhoe to get a cup of coffee and when he returned he couldn’t find the equipment. It had fallen through the pile. Had he been inside, he may have died. (See photo below)

ground zero accident photo

Ask the following question and ensure every item is covered.

How do we prevent these results?

  • Use alternative methods to access unstable work surface such as aerial lifts, but not loader buckets.
  • Have competent person evaluate the pile.
  • Erect scaffolds and ladders only on stable surface.
  • Use fall protection PPE when possible.
  • Wear slip resistant safety shoes with ankle support. and work gloves.
  • Use caution when walking and working on debris piles, use equipment if possible and work in groups.

Ask the following questions about this site and ensure every item is covered.

Let’s talk about this site now.

  • What issues can lead to falls while working with debris at disaster sites? Uneven surfaces, shifting debris, unstable structures, entanglement, holes, hot surfaces.
  • Is there personnel lift equipment that may be used to access work areas?
  • What type of PPE will you need to reduce fall hazards here? Slip resistent safety shoes, work gloves, fall arrest equipment, etc.

Record questions below that you want to ask about this site.