Falling Unistrut Leads to Incident (KV188)


What Happened?

On May 2nd at approx. 09:45 AM, a Scaffold builder was working on ground level at the heat recovery steam generator while a pipefitter was working above him.

The pipefitter working up at the top elevation was asked to move, so he propped a Unistrut up against a valve and pipe. Once the pipefitter stepped away from his work area, the 4.5’ Unistrut fell from elevation and dropped approximately 98’.

Once the Unistrut hit a steel gas bottle enclosure, it bounced up and made contact with a scaffold builder’s hard hat and hand. The scaffold builder walked away from his work area after his hard hat was struck, traveling approximately 200 feet, then the onsite medic arrived to evaluate. The scaffold builder was taken offsite for further evaluation and was released to full duty without restrictions.

Contributing Factors

Unistrut was not properly secured in the pipefitter’s work area.

Pipefitter was asked to move from his work area so that a scaffold pole could be modified.

Pipefitter was asked to move from his work area so that a scaffold pole could be modified.

What Can We Learn?


The employee should have followed the Procedures so that the Unistrut was properly secured prior to leaving his work area.

By using a Second Check, a co-worker could have caught the mistake of leaving an unsecured Unistrut thereby preventing the incident.


He fell into the Time Pressure trap by wanting to leave the area as soon as he was told so that a scaffold pole could be modified.

The employee might have experienced Peer Pressure by being negatively influenced in rushing so that his co-worker could finish a job.    

Ask the Right Questions

How does this relate to our work?

Where do we have similar traps?

What Tools can we use to avoid a similar incident?

Was a stop work point missed?