Earlier this month, a construction worker lost his life while working at a home in the West Meade area. The 38-year-old subcontractor reportedly was installing drywall on the third floor when he fell from an elevator shaft down into the garage, hitting his head on the way down. Police say the worker died at the scene of the accident.
Police have confirmed the death was an accident with no signs of foul play. Additionally, investigators from the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) were on the scene of the construction accident. So far, investigators are not sure why the elevator shaft was open or whether any safety violations were present. The construction company does not currently have any violations filed with TOSHA.
CONSTRUCTION WORKERS REQUIRED TO WORK IN OR AROUND ELEVATORS ARE AT RISK FOR FALLS
A study conducted by the Census of Fatal and Occupational Injuries show that roughly 20 workers die every year due to elevator accidents that most often occur during elevator installation or maintenance. Injuries sustained in elevator accidents are more often serious or fatal.
Elevator shafts without a barrier or a shaft left unattended poses a severe safety hazard, especially when construction workers are tending to a task nearby. When an elevator shaft is empty, employers or the supervisor in charge of the work site should take care to make sure the area is marked and effectively blocked off to prevent falls. Regardless of how short the distance of the fall is, victims are likely to sustain serious injuries from impact.
THE ELEVATOR SHOULD HAVE BEEN BLOCKED OFF TO PREVENT THE FALL HAZARDS
The construction company that contracted the worker should have taken better care to protect its subcontractors from fall hazards, such as the elevator shaft. Additionally, the worker was not wearing a helmet and was not provided a personal fall arrest system when working around the elevator shaft.
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15