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A story of impact: NIOSH-funded program and stakeholders work to prevent falls from temporary wooden platforms on bridge decks
  • Published Date:
    June, 2015
  • Series:
    DHHS publication ; no. (NIOSH) 2015–190
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-593.33 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    NIOSH-funded program and stakeholders work to prevent falls from temporary wooden platforms on bridge decks
  • Description:
    In 2012, falls were the leading cause of work-related fatal injuries in the construction industry in the United States. In New Jersey between 1999 and 2012, 51% (n=160) of the 315 work-related fatal injuries that occurred in the construction industry were due to falls. Serious injury and death from falls can be prevented. The New Jersey Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (NJ FACE) Project - funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) - in the New Jersey Department of Health investigates work-related fatal injuries. In 2007, the NJ FACE Project investigated a fatality in which a worker died after falling through a temporary wooden catch platform, 75 feet to the ground. The incident occurred in 2007, during a bridge renovation project on a major roadway in New Jersey. The victim, a 26-year old construction worker, stepped onto a wooden "catch" platform (designed to catch falling debris from the bridge construction), which broke under his weight. Following this fatality, in 2009, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Letter of Interpretation that these temporary wooden "catch" platforms are considered scaffolds and must comply with 29 CFR 1926 Subpart L (OSHA's Scaffold Standard). Therefore, "wooden planks on any temporary platform must be capable of supporting, without failure, its own weight and at least 4 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it." In 2014, the NJ FACE Project published a workplace fatality alert titled, "FACE Facts: Two Construction Workers Fall to their Death through Temporary Wooden Bridge Platforms" for the National Falls Campaign. The alert contains data on construction fatalities in NJ, presents two case studies, and provides specific recommendations for prevention. The alert was reviewed and approved by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the NJ Health and Safety Laborers' Fund. Suggested citation: NIOSH [2015]. NIOSH-Funded Program and Stakeholders Work to Prevent Falls from Temporary Wooden Platforms on Bridge Decks. OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2015-190. NIOSHTIC No 20046314
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