Injury Removing Manhole Forming Ring


An experienced Utility craftsman working in Downtown Denver injured his back while assisting two others lifting out a 3-inch tall, 4 foot wide steel manhole base forming ring weighting about 40 lbs. As the men freed the ring from the suction of the steel to the wet concrete they lifted up and twisted to the side to remove it from the excavation. The injury occurred between freeing the ring and removing it from the excavation. He was initially seen at Front Range Occupational Medicine Clinic on SEPT 27, again on SEPT 28 receiving therapeutic massage and for a third time on OCT 1 when he was prescribed a muscle relaxant.

The case was upgraded from first aid to Medical Treatment Case (MTC) on OCT 1 as a result of the prescription. Drug & Alcohol testing was applied with clear results. This is an OSHA Recordable Injury Incident.



Overlooked Standards, Policy or Administrative Controls (SPAC): Process for Cast in Place Manhole base is routine and was not reviewed for hazard recognition. Although the ergonomic hazard was identified no control was put in place to reduce injury or incident.

Inadequate Tool for the Job: the manhole forming ring was designed and built by Fiore for the purpose. No lifting pints or ability to use a separate tool to assist with utilization was considered.

Safe Work Practice Not Followed: Although body position was discussed I the Toolbox talk; the best practice for safe manual lifting was not followed: body position, buddy system, mechanical advantage applied to reduce lifting.

Inadequate PPE: The employee chose high heeled cowboy style boots that were well worn and damaged. These boots do not provide comfortable and supportive conditions to reduce lower back strain on hard and rough surfaces.



  • Prepare a (1) Safety Alert and (2) recirculate Manual Lifting Tailgate topic (MAR 2018 Tailgate #13) to share with work crews via Tailgate Topics and onsite Awareness. Discuss implementing best practices and care in selecting personal PPE.
  • Review possible retrofits to the steel ring to aid on lifting and removing the ring form the wet concrete without disturbing the finished concrete work.
  • Employee to purchase replacement boots with cushioned insole and adequate ankle support to reduce back strain. Utilize FSI Employee Boot Reimbursement program to maintain serviceable foot protection.

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