A scaffolding collapse at a worksite just outside of Philadelphia led to two workers hanging from an empty water tower while awaiting rescue.
Unfortunately, one of the workers plummeted to his death before he could be saved. The other hung by a safety harness for three hours before being brought down. The 100-foot-tall water tower was being serviced by three workers at the time of the workplace accident.
The local fire chief noted that because the situation was secure and rescuers were able to communicate with the suspended worker, efforts were made to guarantee safety at all points, which resulted in a longer rescue than what would have been seen in an emergency situation. By that time, the other worker had already fallen 50 feet to his death. The third worker had been inside the tank on the ground level at the time of the scaffolding collapse, and he was not hurt.
The surviving worker was taken to a local hospital. Details of his condition were not released.
According to the fire chief, the three-man crew had been hired to clean the tank’s interior. The water tower serviced a residential neighborhood about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
The county coroner said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be investigating the accident. The investigation will likely produce an explanation of how it occurred, and who is liable in the death of one worker and the injuries suffered by another.
Depending on the results of the investigation, civil lawsuits could then be filed against the liable parties.
Source: KLTV.com, “Worker left dangling for hours in Pa. water tower,” Dec. 6, 2012