Free Falling with Miller® TurboLite™ EXTREME: A Real-Life Testimonial
April 9, 2021
For Bob Bruneau, it started like a normal workday. Little did he know that morning last December, as he was making his way to repair a scaffolding canopy, that he would have a close encounter with one of the most frequent of workplace accidents – a fall from height.
The scaffolding had been damaged by a passing vehicle, so Bob and his supervisor made a plan to fix it. They each had a specific role: his supervisor was the ground guy, and Bob went on the scaffold with his Miller fall protection gear.
As he went up, Bob knew what the plan was. He would have to loosen a component that had been damaged in the car incident. To do so, he had to reach under the deck and hit the damaged wedge with his hammer. But to get to the wedge, he had to lean out over the edge. He was leaning on a horizontal support to try and reach the wedge. What followed is one of the scariest and most dangerous things that can happen when working on a scaffold: the horizontal support gave out and down. In an instant, Bob was falling from a height of 8-10 feet, headfirst.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, scaffolding accidents result in 4,500 injuries and over 60 deaths each year. 72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident to the support giving way, or to slipping or being struck by a falling object. In Bob’s case, it was a horizontal support that gave way and Bob fell from a height of 8-10 feet.
When he fell, Bob was wearing his Miller harness and one-year old Miller® TurboLite™ EXTREME Leading Edge Personal Fall Limiter, specially designed for working near sharp edges and non-overhead anchor points. Despite Bob falling headfirst, by design, his harness immediately reoriented his body, so he was upright by the time his SRL fully arrested & stopped his fall. Bob met the ground with his boots rather than his head.
The TurboLite MAX’s internal brake provided the deceleration and shock absorption during the fall, thus the additional shock pack for increased fall forces did not have to deploy. The Miller gear performed exactly as designed, and, upon inspection, the fall did not appear to have generated enough force to tear the rip stitching on the SRL nor the harness.
Despite the scary nature of the incident, Bob was completely safe and sound. He feels that he is so fortunate that he won't “wear anyone else's gear and completely trusts” the Miller protection gear. Bob’s story should remind every worker at height that even the most skilled and experienced workers cannot avoid accidental falls, but that using the right safety equipment can make all the difference in avoiding injury or death.
Per ANSI & OSHA regulations, the products that saved Bob will be taken out of service as a precaution, even though they were thoroughly inspected and have not been damaged. But Bob is now enrolled in the Miller Life Program, which will replace the equipment and will provide Bob a “Life Member with Miller” certificate.
Want to know more about the capabilities of our Personal Fall Limiters? Explore Miller® TurboLite™ EXTREME Leading Edge Personal Fall Limiter and the entire family of Self-Retracting Lifelines & Personal Fall Limiters, to learn how we’re helping you keep workers protected.
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