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Be Aware When Working on Suspended Ceilings

Current / Previous Condition:
 Employees were tasked with removing suspended ceiling tile and the grid pieces for access above the ceiling to install structural steel.

Analysis of Condition:

 A dust wall was installed to seperate the work area from the production area.  Employee was in scissor lift on the project side removing the 2x4 ceiling tile and the 4-foot cross braces that ran along each side of the tile.  The cross braces connect into the main runners, which are suspended from the roof deck above.  There are two cross braces that hook into the main runner through the same hole.  Once both cross braces are inserted into the hole, they are esessentially locked into place.  To remove one, a little tab must be depressed on the brace to allow it to be pulled out.  The employee removed a particular cross brace on the project side of the dust wall and moved to the next one.  When the employee had the cross braces removed, it allowed the cross braces, that hooked into the same hole, on the opposite side of the dust wall to pullout and allow the light fixture they were supporting to fall to the floor.

Recommended / Implemented Actions:

 Work was stopped immediately and the electrical service that was suppling the light was secured by the electricians.  Before work progressed, all opposing cross braces were secured to the main runner by use of wire ties.  Also, the cross brace tabs were bent over 90-degrees to ensure that they could not be pulled out.  An investigation is being performed to determine the best way to secure the lights in place, even when cross braces are removed.  Suspending them from the roof deck, which is roughly 15-18 feet above the suspended ceiling is an option that is being investigated.

Benefits of the Lessons Learned:

 Work above suspended ceilings occurs all over the plant site.  The potential for a cross brace being removed is quite likley and this event could happen again if measures are not taken to secure fixtures.

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