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Fall from railroad bridge tragically kills worker

A railroad employee from Belleville, Illinois tragically fell to his death from the MacArthur Bridge last week while working on the railroad bridge at South Sixth and Gratiot streets.  Carter Perry, 57, who worked for the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, stepped onto an unsecured metal walkway that gave way about 12:50 p.m., according to St. Louis police. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. George Muraski, chief of police for Terminal Railroad, said Perry had been employed with the railroad since 1975 and described him as a very, very nice person.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls consistently account for the greatest number of fatalities in workers – particularly in the construction industry. OSHA cites a number of contributing factors to these tragic events including unstable work surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment and human error.  Studies have shown that the use of guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers and restraint systems can prevent many of the deaths and serious injuries that result from falls.

OSHA recommends the following fall protection solutions:

Consider using aerial lifts or elevated platforms to provide safer elevated working surfaces;

Erect guardrail systems with toeboards and warning lines or install control line systems to protect workers near the edges of floors and roofs;

Cover floor holes; and/or

Use safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems (body harnesses).

With nearly 6.5 million workers at roughly 252,000 construction sites, not including railroad workers like Mr. Perry, it is imperative to take every preventative measure to guard against these tragic events.

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