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DATE: October 16, 2003

INCIDENT TYPE: Serious Injury

LOCATION: District 7

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Landscape Weed Spraying

THE ACCIDENT: On September 9, 2003 a Caltrans Maintenance Worker, Fernando Barreto was spraying weeds atop the retaining wall on the I-105 Freeway, on the westbound side near the Paramount Blvd. offramp in the City of Paramount, when he slipped and fell over eight feet onto the freeway shoulder below. Mr. Barreto sustained serious injuries to his head and torso.

CONCLUSIONS: After a review of the accident scene, it was discovered that the retaining wall should have had safety cable railing installed. Retaining walls more than 1220 mm high are required to have safety cable railing installed as required by Cal-OSHA regulations, Title 8, Section 1621, as well as the Department's Highway Design Manual Section 210.5. Cal-OSHA is currently investigating this accident.

RECOMMENDATIONS: All staff should be reminded to make sure that all required safety measures are in place prior to beginning any work, particularly fieldwork. It is also suggested that employees check locations with retaining walls and report any instances of safety cable railing not installed per Cal-OSHA regulations. If any locations are observed without the required safety cable railing, please report it to your immediate supervisor so that measures can be taken to ensure compliance with all Cal-OSHA regulations.

Recommendations for compliance:

  1. A survey of each District should be conducted to identify all locations in the district where safety cable railing has not been installed.
  2. All Maintenance work performed on foot in areas atop retaining walls should be suspended until a survey of the District has been completed to identify all locations where safety cable railing has not been installed.
  3. Other means of fall protection should be used until such time as cable railing can be installed. An emergency contract or some other method used to install safety cable railing at locations identified from the survey as requiring railing.




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