DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
SURFACE NONMETAL MINE
FATAL FALLING/SLIDING OF MATERIAL
G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc. 44-00044-UCA
W. S. Frey Plant
W.S. Frey Co., Inc.
Clearbrook, Frederick County, Virginia
February 10, 1995
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Elwood S. Frederick
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
230 Executive Drive, Suite 2
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania 16046-6415
James R. Petrie, District Manager
Richard Simmons, carpenter, age 49, was fatally injured at about 10:00 a.m. on February 10, 1995, when a 4-ton section of a steel form fell and crushed him. The victim was employed by G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., an independent contractor who specialized in concrete work. He had a total of 2 months mining experience as a carpenter with this contractor, and 3 years 2 months experience as a carpenter working for other concrete contractors.
G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc. had been engaged by W.S. Frey Co., Inc. to set concrete piers for a new kiln foundation at its W.S. Frey Plant. The senior operating official at G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc. was Charles Nipper, field supervisor. The contractor employed 13 persons at this job site since December 10, 1994.
The W.S. Frey Plant, located near Clearbrook, Frederick County, Virginia, was an aggregate and lime producing operation, owned and operated by W.S. Frey Co., Inc. The principal operating official was Vincent L. Lord, superintendent. The plant normally operated three 8-hour shifts a day, 7 days a week. W.S. Frey Co., Inc. employed 82 persons at this plant.
The limestone deposit was mined by drilling and blasting multiple benches. Broken stone was loaded by front-end loaders into haul trucks which transported the material to the crushing and screening plant outside the quarry. Aggregates were stockpiled and lime was stored in silos and bins for sale to customers.
The last regular inspection of this operation was completed on
January 5, 1995. The victim had received training pursuant to 30
CFR, Part 48 from W. S. Frey Co. on December 7, 1994.
Additionally, the victim had received some training by the
contractor during a new hire orientation course and during weekly
tool-box safety talks conducted by his immediate supervisor.
MSHA is prohibited by congressionally imposed budget restrictions
from enforcing the training requirements of 30 CFR, Part 48 at
The concrete pad where the accident occurred measured 15 feet by 16 feet 9 inches, and was part of the construction of pier No. 4. No. 6 (3/4-inch diameter) rebars were set around the perimeter of the pad and projected 18 feet 7 inches above its surface. The rebars were spaced approximately 1 foot apart and formed a cage which measured 10 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 3 inches. Four come-alongs (a ratchet-type device connected between two lengths of wire used to pull the wire taut) were attached to the rebar cage to strengthen it. The come-alongs were run diagonally across the center of the cage in a criss-cross pattern. One end of each come-along was hooked at the top corner of the cage and the other end hooked to the opposite bottom corner.
Sections of steel forms were to be erected and bolted in place along the outside edges of the pad, making a form into which concrete would be poured. At the time of the collapse, only one side of this form had been set in place. This section consisted of four separate steel forms (two 8-by-20-foot forms and two 4-by-8-foot forms) which had been bolted together while they were on the ground. When set on end, this completed section had a high center of gravity and measured 20 feet on the bottom and one side, and 16 feet on the top and the other side (see Figure 1). The section rested on its 8-inch flange.
A Lima 80-ton crawler crane, with a 100-foot boom, was used to set this section of the form in place onto the east side of the concrete pad. The pad was not level, and a wedge was placed under the southeast end of the form. "Deadmen" (large concrete blocks with eye bolts) were located on the property to which guy wires could be attached to support the form, but they were not used. Nine "she-bolts" measuring 1 inch in diameter by 16 feet long were to be used to fasten the sections of the forms together once they are set in place. Each bolt weighed approximately 60 pounds. The she-bolts were to be set in three rows, with three bolts in each row.
Economy Forms Corporation manufactured the steel forms and
provided the plans for the construction of the pier. The plans
for this particular lift specified that guy wires were to be used
to support the form when a single side was to be set. During
discussions with Economy Forms representatives after the
accident, they also suggested that instead of supporting an
individual side of the form with guy wires, two sides of the
structure could be coupled together and hoisted as one unit into
place to provide stability.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
Richard Simmons (victim) reported for work at 7:00 a.m., his normal starting time. The victim performed various jobs until he took a break at about 9:30 a.m. After the break, the victim and other co-workers hooked up the first side of the structure to the 80-ton Lima crane.
This section of the form was then set in place along the east side of the concrete pad. A wedge was placed under the southeast corner of the section to level it. Wayne Perando, carpenter, who was working with the victim, observed the victim unhook one of the four come-alongs used to support the rebar cage. The victim, standing atop the rebar cage, attached one end of this come-along to the top center of the section and the other end to the rebar cage. This come-along was used to keep the section of the form from falling outward. After attaching the come-along to the section of the form, the victim reportedly shook the section several times to make sure it was stable. He then unhooked the section from the crane. Forbes Hooper, crane operator, swung the crane around to the south side away from the section. There was no support, other than the rebar cage, to keep the section of the form from falling inward.
The victim then placed several 2-by-6-inch planks inside the rebar cage to stand on while installing the she-bolts. After doing this, he helped Perando replace the wedge from under the southeast corner of the section of the form with two 3 1/4-by-1/4-inch washers. Perando then went to the west side of the rebar cage and began handing she-bolts through the cage to the victim. The victim had installed the bottom row of three she-bolts and was in the process of installing a forth she-bolt (first she-bolt in second row). Reportedly, he was hanging by his safety harness about 3 to 4 feet above the concrete pad, with his harness hooked to the rebar on the side facing the standing form. About 15 minutes had elapsed since the form had been set in place.
While the victim was installing the fourth she-bolt, Perando, who was standing outside the rebar cage on its west side, noticed the form starting to move. Perando yelled to the victim that the form was moving. The victim unhooked his safety line and ran toward the northwest corner of the concrete pad. The rebar cage, however, collapsed on top of him before he could reach safety. As the section of the form fell, it bent the rebar cage to within 12 inches of the pad, sprung back slightly, and then fell back atop the rebar further collapsing it. The victim was crushed beneath the falling section and the rebar. Perando was not injured.
The section of the form was reattached to the crane and lifted off the victim. Several employees worked to free the victim from under the rebars. The victim was checked for vital signs but none could be found. The local fire and rescue personnel arrived. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ernest Leonard, the regular contractor foreman, was not at the site on the day of the accident. In a signed statement that G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc. provided MSHA investigators, Leonard stated that he had discussed how to set the forms with the victim, but did not discuss bracing. He also maintained that he had told both the victim and Perando to set two sides before starting to install the she-bolts. Perando confirmed that both Simmons and himself had been given these instructions. Pichler, acting foreman on the day of the accident, had asked Leonard about the use of "deadmen" for supporting the forms. Leonard told Pichler that he hadn't been using them, and that he had been standing the forms up against the rebar and then bringing another form to it.
At the time of the accident, Pichler was in another area of the plant, and did not observe the form being set in place. He had not instructed the erection crew on how to support the form and told MSHA investigators that he was under the impression that they knew what to do.
The primary cause of the accident was the contractor's failure to
adequately support the section of form. It is believed that the
combination of the victim unhooking the support come-along from
within the rebar cage, the weight of the four 60 pound she-bolts,
the weight of the victim on the rebar cage, and the weight of the
form itself, caused the cage to collapse. Contributing factors
were the victim and Perando not following the instructions to set
a second side of the form before installing the she-bolts and the
contractor's failure to ensure that employees erecting the form
were providing adequate support.
Citation No. 4293305 was issued under the provisions of Section 104(a) on February 16, 1995, for a violation of 30 CFR 56.14205:
On February 10, 1995, at approximately 10:00 a.m. a fatal accident occurred at this operation when a 20-foot by 20-foot steel plate form with an 8-inch flange fell onto a contractor employee. The form had been lowered onto a concrete pad by a crane and was standing on its 8-inch flange when it fell inward, crushing a rebar cage in which the employee was working. The instructions provided by the form's manufacturer were not followed in that neither pipe braces nor adequate guying were used to support the form during this stage of the construction.
The only support provided by the contractor was a come-along which was attached to keep the form from falling outward. The operator had assumed that the rebar cage would keep the form from falling inward. Concrete blocks (deadmen) to which guy wires could be attached were on the work site but were not used.
This citation was abated on 2/16/95, after clarifying erection and stabilizing procedures.
Citation No. 4293306 was issued under the provisions of Section 104(a) on February 26, 1995, for a violation of 30 CFR 56.18006:
On February 10, 1995, at approximately 10:00 a.m. a fatal accident occurred at this operation when a 20-foot by 20-foot steel plate form with an 8-inch flange fell onto a contractor employee. The form had been lowered onto a concrete pad by a crane and was standing on its 8-inch flange when it fell over onto the employee. The contractor's employees working on this single form had not been specifically instructed on how to support it.
This citation was abated on 2/16/95, after clarifying erection and stabilizing procedures.
Respectively submitted by:
Supervisory Mine Safety & Health Inspector
Mine Safety & Health Inspector
James R. Petrie
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: