Fukushima worker fell 13 feet outside Unit 4 — “No radioactive material was attached on his body” — Fractured spine

Published: November 18th, 2012 at 7:35 am ET
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Title: Daily Report
Source: Tepco
Date: as of 3:00 PM, November 15

At around 2:25 PM on October 5, a TEPCO employee fell down from the opening of the ball collector pit (approx. 4m high) located outside of Unit 4 (uncontrolled area) during repair/paint work of the pit frame. The injured worker was transported to the clinic in J-Village at 3:37 PM on the same day upon judgment by a doctor at the clinic in the power station and was examined at the clinic. The worker was conscious and no radioactive material was attached on his body. Upon judgment by a doctor at the clinic in J-Village, an ambulance was called at around 5:21 PM on the same day to transport the worker to Fukushima Accident Hospital. As a result of a medical examination, the worker was diagnosed to have fractures of the transverse process of the fourth lumbar vertebra and the spine of the fifth lumbar vertebra, which will take a month to heal. The causes of the incident are considered to be such as the lid of the opening on the floor being open without a warning sign, improper work allocation not taking into considerations the tasks and working experience at the site and not being aware of the risk of falling down from the opening on the floor due to insufficient risk prediction before work. For recurrence prevention, the lids of all the openings on the floor will be kept closed using annealing wire, install signs “Do not open” near the openings, check the work environment before work even when TEPCO employees engage in the work, require the supervisor to determine work allocation depending on the tasks, assign an observer for tasks deemed to be of risk as a result of work environment check, require all members involved in tasks to check the work environment for risk prediction and share the information on the risks found and implement necessary measures to ensure work safety.

Published: November 18th, 2012 at 7:35 am ET
By
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24 comments

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24 comments to Fukushima worker fell 13 feet outside Unit 4 — “No radioactive material was attached on his body” — Fractured spine

  • JHewes76 JHewes76

    "repair/painting of the pit frame" ???? THAT'S what they are focusing on … sprucing the place up a little… maybe add some plants, and a framed picture or two? What's next, selling the plant as a "fixer upper"??


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  • or-well

    Guy falls down hole.
    The apt. building going up across the street looks to have better safety procedures in place than a nuclear facility.


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  • jec jec

    It get better…lids of all the openings on the floor will be kept closed using annealing wire, install signs “Do not open”..who are they kidding. BUT they do tell workers they should REPORT risks..a green light for whistle blowers???


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  • JHewes76 JHewes76

    "The worker was conscious and no radioactive material was attached on his body" Weird thing to say when talking about a fall. Trying to make things look "normal"?


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  • jec jec

    One month to heal a fractured L4 and L5?–those medical docs are NUTS! IF they have to use metal to fixate the spine..its months..not 4 weeks. They are totally out to lunch. And if anyone thinks about it..if this worker has been impacted by radiation..he will have difficulty healing. At a minimum he will fine it difficult to do manual labor..lifting and carrying, bending again. And if they fuse the back..he will not do much bending. And then the above and below L4/L5 may be compromised due to stress..the poor guy is going to have a long road. Four WEEKS..sounds like a fairy tale to lull the audience..go on now..nothing to see..all is fine.


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    • Radio VicFromOregon

      jec, maybe if it's a hairline fracture or a compression fracture, which would be very possible from a 14 foot fall onto a hard surface, he can reknit the less dense bone that make up vertebrae in 4 to 6 weeks, but his rehab will take far longer? He may also be able to avail himself of acupuncture, which is very prevalent there and which can speed the healing process up. In fact, since it stimulates the immune system, it can help him with the radiation exposure he must have working in Unit 4. But, given the fractures are L4 and L5, as you say, he will be hurting for a very long time, perhaps the remainder of his life. I hope he recovers well and that TEPCO gives him all the medical attention and healing time he needs along with a sizable severance paycheck. The chances of his returning to work are low. This may be a fortuitous fall in the long run for him.


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  • or-well

    Poor old yakuza with a brush (?)
    fell down a hole onto his tush,
    now his vertebra are mush,
    another Tepco safety myth crushed.
    How hard are the workers being pushed?
    What's being overlooked in a rush?
    How many injuries have been hushed?
    How big is the fund reserved for slush?
    Does anything Tepco say deserve trust?


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  • tampabates

    Sounds to me like it was due to maybe over exposure and he fainted because I do see any reason to mention radiation when it was a fall and if they haven't figured out how to mitigate latches or little doors on the floor at a plant that's been there a few decades then I don't think they should be on control of anything


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    • Radio VicFromOregon

      Unit 4 is contaminated, so he would have been suited up along with a full face mask. Chances are, those would have being compromised in the fall and opened to the surrounding air. Thus, it is appropriate that TEPCO rule out contamination for this fellow. And, of course, since low level radiation exposure is assumed to be safe by nearly all medical personnel and the entire nuclear industry along with almost all government leaders and civilians alike, when they say "no contamination", they may mean "no high dose contamination".


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  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Fukushima Decommissioning Working Conditions Deteriorating; via A Green Road http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/11/fukushima-decommissioning-working.html


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  • norbu norbu

    No radioactive material attached to his body? Really? He was at the plant right? Right, there is no radioactive material there. Huh say what, our rain is hot over 5000 miles away, but he, there at the plant had no radioactive material on his body. WOW


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    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      Notice how they ALWAYS say 'outside'..

      They NEVER look INSIDE.

      Yea, you can pressure wash the body outside and shave off the hair and toss the clothing to get rid of outer radiation.

      But what happens to all of the radiation that got INSIDE the body?

      They never look for that… NEVER.

      Why not? Hmmmmmmmmm?


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  • norbu norbu

    The radiation set's up shop inside the body and begins it's work. Top secret work. They don't want to look at reality, the whole world will know then. SHUT THEM ALL DOWN NOW!


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  • Sickputer

    "At around 2:25 PM on October 5, a TEPCO employee fell down…"

    SP: Daily Reports? Six weeks later? So if he was supposed to be well in a month, I guess he is available fir interviews? Don't hold your breath.


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    • amberlight amberlight

      After six weeks you'd think they could come up with more plausible bullsh*t than this "report."

      "assign an observer" Sure, Tepco has a vast pool of workers from which to pick someone to stand around making sure nobody opens the hatch while they are hanging gingham curtains to gussy up the place. Since the rest of Daiichi is a model of safe working conditions, they will only need to monitor this one lid.

      Maybe they should stuff the hole with diaper gel. It would make for a softer landing…


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  • Radio VicFromOregon

    I doubt this was decorating the place up. If we recall the leaking pit from Unit 2, they must be watertight and maintained. If he is repairing cracks in the Unit 4 reactor pit, then we should all be grateful to him and not mock his work as something frivolous. That whole concrete area may become a holding tank if the pool fails. If he was repairing and painting the spent fuel pit frame that holds the fuel rods to maintain the steel's integrity, then we should be kissing his feet. If he was resurfacing the tool pit as routine maintenance so that it was a safer working site, we should honor his efforts for the great risks he takes on our behalf. There must certainly be ways to ridicule TEPCO, if that is your intent, without also ridiculing the workers.


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    • amberlight amberlight

      Vic, I'm not ridiculing the worker and the first thought I had about his accident was: Uh oh, a lifetime of disabling back pain! Whatever the guy was doing, it was not his call. He was assigned a job by Tepco (aka IneptCo) and we all know how they excel at decision making, having learned their craft from Larry, Moe and Curly.

      "Routine maintenance?" You mean maintaining the endless output of radionuclides or the interim patch job on the precarious structures that could give way the next time the earth under Fukushima hiccups? Don't forget the source of this "report" is Tepco and, apart from the tragic injury to a worker whose life expectancy has already been shortened, the entire account reads like a practical joke.

      The sarcastic comments here are aimed at Tepco and are a way of expressing utter disbelief at how they have mishandled both the crisis and the information released to the public. A "daily report" that finally gets published a month and a half later? How much time did they have to put into editing it, or were they waiting to see if the guy recovered sufficiently to not have to report his becoming wheelchair-bound for life?


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