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Tower Painter Survives 100-Foot Fall

Friday, August 5, 2011

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Authorities are investigating an accident at a Texas municipal water tower, in which a painter fell about 100 feet from the top of the tower while working.

Hector Castillo, 31, survived the fall and was being treated at Valley Baptist Medical Center, where staff later said he was “doing fine.” His hometown was not released.

 San Benito Greyhounds Water Tower
Hector Castillo, 31, fell from near the top of the tower, police said.

Castillo was working for a private painting contractor on the San Benito Greyhounds Water Tower, when the accident occurred about 6:40 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 4).

The name of the painting contractor was not immediately available.

‘A Loud Crash’

Witnesses said Castillo was working near the top of the tower from a motorized basket that the workers had been using to access the tower, “when all of a sudden, a loud crash was heard and the victim was on the ground … lying in extreme pain,” but conscious, according to a statement by San Benito Police Detective Arturo Flores Jr.

The statement said Castillo’s fall had been broken by “sand dust which had collected below.” Witnesses called it “black sand,” suggesting that it may have been abrasive blast medium residue from the painting project.

Police said Castillo had not been wearing a safety harness. A local television station reported that Castillo fell out of the box “when he moved it to reposition himself.” The station said Castillo struck parts of the water tower’s structure as he fell.

On Friday, a police spokeswoman said Castillo “appears to be doing well,” despite initial reports of possible internal injuries.

Investigations Continue

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation into the accident Friday, and the police are continuing to investigate.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Fall protection; Industrial Contractors; OSHA

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/8/2011, 8:50 AM)

You have to wear your fall protection, every time. You have to be hooked off 100%, every time.


Comment from Brent Bergman, (8/8/2011, 1:29 PM)

Supervisors must enforce fall protection requirements, every time on every job. Hold supervision responsible for failure to use fall protection. The practice allows workers to go home without injury.


Comment from Duane Mensch, (8/10/2011, 12:50 PM)

All too often workers fail to place a fall restraint system when working from aloft. Whether it be mechanically, or manually operated, the rigging system they are working from is often considered both, and only offers a false sense of security to one who is not familiar with either. A few simple steps to place and monitior an independant fall restraint system could have prevented this accident, but if only one of the aforementioned is in place and implimented it most likely will not serve any purpose. Safety should be of the utmost importance when working aloft, and is often overlooked in cases where rigging of this nature is utilized.


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