Worker dies after 11-foot fall in Arkansas

hard hat concreteA construction worker was killed Tuesday afternoon in Little Rock, Arkansas, following a fall from only 11 feet.

According to a report from Arkansas Online, 29-year-old Erik Rivera Pontilla fell from a beam he was bolting into place.

The Little Rock Police Department told the site that Pontilla lost his footing and fell directly onto a slab below. No one was nearby when he fell and no mention is made of harnesses or nets in the report. Pontilla worked for Little Rock-based firm Kinco Constructors.

He was rushed to the hospital but later died of his the injuries sustained in the fall.

Industry officials in Arizona recently voiced their displeasure at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision to strike down that state’s fall safety standards which didn’t call for a harness until 15 feet. But, as this case in Arkansas shows, falls can be deadly from deceiving heights. The new OSHA harness standard for Arizona is any height above 6 feet.

OSHA is investigating the Little Rock accident.

Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. OSHA is encouraging contractors and construction firms to participate in the upcoming fall prevention safety stand-down May 4-15.

The second-annual event asks employers and workers to pause during the workday to discuss safety topics and participate in demonstrations and training on how to use safety harnesses, guard rails and other means to protect workers from falls.