November 15, 2011
Steer Clear of Danger
Suspended loads carry considerable risk. Stay a safe distance away.
The accident: On April 21, 2009, a 51-year-old contract laborer with three years of experience — two weeks and three days of experience at this operation — was fatally injured while working inside an excavation ditch as an excavator maneuvered a concrete block into place. The chain that attached a four-leg sling from the box to the excavator broke, and the box fell into the ditch, striking and crushing the victim. His death was attributed to multiple blunt force trauma.
The bottom line: Upon inspection, Mine Safety and Health Administration investigators found that, while the quadruple-leg sling used to move the concrete block was adequately rated for the load, the 3/8-inch connector chain lacked any identifying marks that would indicate it was the appropriate grade of material. The connector chain exhibited wear and was distorted in several locations. Wear included bent links, rust accumulation, and corrosion pitting. A single link in the working section of the chain failed, causing the catch basin to fall. Additionally, inspectors noted that the victim was working in an area where he could not stay clear of the suspended load.
The applicable standard
30 CFR § 56.1009
Persons shall stay clear of all suspended loads.
• Identify hazards associated with the task to be performed, review those hazards with all personnel involved, and implement measures to ensure persons are properly protected.
• Communicate lift plans to all persons working in the lift zone to ensure that no one is under a suspended load.
• Stay clear of a suspended load.
• Attach taglines to loads that may require steadying or guidance while suspended.
• Use sling or chain assemblies (rigging) specifically intended for lifting and adequately rated for the loads being lifted.
• Carefully inspect all rigging prior to each use.
Information from this Safety Watch is from an actual accident and is compiled from Mine Safety and Health Administration reports. It is meant for general information purposes only.