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FACEValue: Plant manager crushed to death by steel beams

Case report: #14-NJ-08*
Issued by: New Jersey Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE)
Date of incident: Spring 2014

A 65-year-old plant manager died after being crushed by a pile of steel beams at a metal processing and distribution warehouse facility. The victim had worked for the company for more than 10 years. On the day of the incident, the victim was walking between an unsecured, stacked pile of steel beams and a flatbed trailer. As he walked between the pile and the trailer, the beams toppled over, pinning him underneath. The victim suffered blunt impact injuries to the head and neck, and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics approximately 20 minutes later.

To prevent future occurrences:

  • Steel beams should be properly stacked, blocked, interlocked and limited in height to ensure stability.
  • Beams should be moved and stacked by a certified crane operator, and stacks should be routinely inspected for stability by a competent person. The competent person who inspects the piles should be properly trained on how to do so, and have knowledge regarding materials handling and storage.
  • A safety and health plan based on a Job Hazard Analysis should be developed by the employer and followed where workers are assigned tasks.

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