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Painter died when he fell from scaffold

Date of incident: August 2015
Notice of incident number: 2015155730028
Employer: Painting company

Incident summary
A painter was performing touch-up painting duties in the interior of a residence that was being renovated. He was working on a wall approximately 17 feet (5 metres) high while using a baker-type scaffold with casters. He may have placed a ladder on top of the scaffold. The scaffold fell and hit the wall, and the painter landed on the floor. The painter fell from a height in excess of 10 feet (3 metres) when the two‑section baker-type scaffold overturned. He sustained fatal injuries.

Investigation conclusions

  • Incorrect set-up of scaffold: The cause of this incident, a fall from elevation, was the instability of the scaffold and ladder. This led to both pieces of equipment overturning, resulting in the painter falling to the hardwood floor and sustaining fatal injuries. The scaffold was not set up in compliance with the regulatory requirements. There were no guardrails, the height of the scaffold exceeded three times its minimum base dimension, and it was not equipped with outriggers. Two of the scaffold casters were not locked. The ladder could not have been placed at a 4:1 ratio if it was positioned on top of the scaffold.

Underlying factor

  • Lack of knowledge about the equipment being used: All personnel at the site conceded that they had minimal understanding of baker-type scaffold use. It is unknown what knowledge the painter had with using scaffolds. The painter’s employer did not know if the painter had knowledge or experience using scaffolds as the company normally uses ladders to do its work.

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Publication Date: Jan 2018 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2015155730028