WICHITA, KS — As a former accident investigator for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Vic Vaughn was often called on to investigate accidents involving injuries and death. Needless to say, he has witnessed a lot of heartache in his time.

Now employed by Integrated Solutions, environmental, health, and safety consultants based in Wichita, KS, Vaughn is busy informing businesses how to prevent jobsite accidents. At the Midwest Contractors Expo 2001, held here recently, Vaughn turned some attendees’ stomachs by relaying some horrible jobsite accidents.

For instance, Vaughn talked about a 19-year-old worker who was at a remote jobsite when he was struck in the chest by a pipe wrench. The blow came at the precise moment between heartbeats and sent him into cardiac arrest.

“Workers tried to get him emergency treatment but it took too long to get him to a hospital. He died,” said Vaughn.

His recommendation? Have portable defibrillation equipment at jobsites or in company vehicles.

In another incident, Vaughn said workers were using a sling to lift a load and a straight eyebolt was attached to the load and sling. The load was raised on a 45 degree angle, putting enough pressure on the eyebolt to snap it, sending it into one worker’s chest, killing him instantly.

“The company was cited for several violations, including improper rigging, shock pulling the load, and lack of adequate training,” said Vaughn.

He recommended that workers sign off on all training sheets. In this case, he noted that some had the exact same signature on each sheet, indicating that some workers did not take the safety training.

Another sad incident involved a father-and-son work crew. According to Vaughn, the father was standing above a pit when a load was being lowered down into the pit with a crane. His son was standing in the pit at the time, guiding the load in. The platform anchoring the crane gave way, causing the 12-ton load to shift and crush the son to death in the pit while the father helplessly watched.

“The son was standing on the wrong side of the load as it was being lowered,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn stressed the importance of adequate safety and equipment operation training. He apologized to the audience for giving such graphic details, but he used the examples to drive home the point of jobsite safety.

For more information on environmental, safety, and health issues, visit www.ehssolutions.com.

Publication date: 06/11/2001