Worker falls 80 feet from water tower

Press release from the Town of Culpeper

CULPEPER, VA (WWBT) - One man was injured when a scaffold cable loop apparently failed at the top of a water tank, sending the man plummeting about 80 feet to the ground. Another man on the scaffold was not injured.

About 9;45 a.m., police, fire and rescue personnel responded to the Standpipe water tank along Orange Road regarding the report of a man having fallen from a scaffolding and another man dangling from his safety harness about 80 feet above ground.

Rescue workers discovered a conscious 38-year-old Muse, Pa., man on the ground at the base of the water tower. He was airlifted to the University of Virginia medical Center for treatment.

A 48-year-old Meadeville, Pa., man, who also was working on the scaffold, was rescued and not injured.

The two men were working on a scaffold inside a containment tarp that protected the workers and allowed the men to paint the exterior of the water tank. The scaffold, suspended by cables, was at the top of the tank at the time of the accident, about 80 feet above ground. One worker said the containment tarp probably helped break the injured man's fall.

The cable supporting the scaffolding was connected to the top of the water tank with a loop in the cable secured with a crimp connection. Possibly, the crimp connection was not tight enough and the cable pulled out.

The two men are employed D&M Painting Company of Washington Pa. The company contracted with the town to paint the interior and exterior of the town's three elevated water tanks. The Standpipe tank is the first tank to be painted and work began on last week.

Police were waiting for representatives of the federal Occupational, Safety and Health Administration to get on scene to investigate.

The extent of the injuries and condition of the injured man is unknown.