On a clear windy Wednesday, around 11:50 a.m., a 24 year-old Hispanic laborer was helping his brother-in-law load trusses on the ground, when a gust of wind ripped an 8 foot by 4 foot sheet of plywood from another Hispanic laborer’s hands as he was handing the plywood to a co-worker 60 feet above on a commercial construction site roof. The co-worker on the roof tried to grab the sliding plywood by jumping onto it, but could not stop it. The co-worker’s life line prevented him from falling over the edge of the roof. As the plywood reached the edge of the roof the wind whipped it 30 feet from the building, striking the Hispanic laborer on the back of the head just below his hard hat. A crane operator witnessing the events unfolding immediately began blowing his horn trying to warn the laborers on the ground, but it was too late.
To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:
Recommendation No. 1: When conducting overhead work, employers should take precautions to protect workers on the ground from falling objects, tools and debris.
Recommendation No. 2: When possible, employers should move workers out of the hazard area when conducting overhead work.
Recommendation No. 3: When employers hire foreign workers, they should have training materials printed in the native language and provide extensive safety training to ensure understanding.
Recommendation No. 4: When the presence of high winds occurs, employers should consider postponing high overhead work to eliminate many incidents that could occur.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Hispanic Laborer Killed When Struck by Falling Plywood on a Commercial Construction Site" (2014). Fatality Case Reports--Construction. Paper 2.