FALL THROUGH A FLOOR OPENING

Case Description/Summary:  

A school janitor who entered a closet to disengage a fire alarm system fell through an unguarded floor opening.  An electrical contractor who was pulling wires under the floor failed to properly protect other individuals from the floor opening hazard.

Expert Analysis/Summary:

A construction and human factors engineering analysis included a review of all relevant depositions and other discovery documents, reports, photographs, etc. In addition, a review of relevant research materials, codes, and standards related to protection of floor hole openings, visual perception and expectancy in applied settings was performed. It was determined that the electrical contractor failed to comply with federal and state safety regulations as well as national consensus standards related to floor hole openings.  In addition, minimum light levels from emergency lighting and the expectancy that a floor hole hazard would not exist in front of the fire control panel was an indication that the injured janitor’s actions or inactions did not cause the accident event.

Results:    Verdict for plaintiff.

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