Case Stu

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Question description

A 40-year-old laborer/helper died when he fell through an opening in a warehouse roof approximately 27 feet to the floor below.
The employer was demolishing the roof of the warehouse portion of a commercial building. Work was done at night because the coal tar on the roof would release hazardous gases if disturbed in the heat of the day. The site had adequate halogen lighting. None of the workers on the job were using fall protection. After the roofing material was removed, 4x8 foot sheets of plywood were exposed. Any damaged sheets needed to be replaced. The helper's job was to follow the workers who were replacing the plywood, and to pick up the damaged sheets of plywood they had removed. He disposed of them in a chute.

On this evening, one worker had removed a sheet of damaged plywood, but had run out of nails to attach the replacement plywood. He walked away to get more nails. The opening where the damaged plywood had been was left unguarded. The crew was not informed that it was temporarily unguarded. The opening was covered by silver-colored insulation inside the roof.

The helper came along, picked up the sheet of damaged plywood, and headed for the chute. He stepped into the opening, ripped through the insulation, and fell.

What went wrong? What caused this fatality? How could this accident have been prevented? Provide at least three recommendations.

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