Worker injury leads to new Boone County building precautions

3 years 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, December 04 2014 Dec 4, 2014 Thursday, December 04, 2014 10:27:00 AM CST December 04, 2014 in News
By: Shay McAlister, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The Boone County Courthouse facility manager has decided to decommission the flag on top of the dome until further notice. 

This comes two months after a maintenance worker slipped and fell inside the dome while trying to lower the flag to half-staff. Firefighters rescued the man from the dome by securing his body to a backboard and lowering him down the side of the courthouse. Officials said it was a rescue they rarely have to do.

The decision to decommission the flag came from a collaboration between Boone County human resources, manager of facilities and risk management. The group decided there was no way to ensure safety for people working on the flag, on top of the dome.

Boone County Human Resources Director Jenna Redel-Reed said, "As of right now, we don't know if we'll ever use the spiral on top of the dome as a flag pole again but if we come up with a way to better ensure safety then we would of course consider it."

In addition to decommissioning the flag, workers are installing new safety precautions inside the dome. Workers have already added foot gripping material on the metal ladders in the dome. They plan to install fall limiters inside the dome as well. The fall limiters will work as harnesses for workers to wear while doing maintenance work inside the dome. Because of the height of the flag above the dome, there was no way to use the harnesses for work on the flag. Redel-Reed said the should be functional in 2015. 

The incident at the Boone County Courthouse caused officials to re-examine safety precaution in all Boone County buildings. They found the dome at the Juvinial Justice Center to be less dangerous and more easily accessible. They also plan to offer more ladder safety training to people working with that equipment in the future. 

Redel-Reed said she wished she could have prevented the accident but that that is not how it works. She said, "I'm never going to be able to predict all of the different ways somebody could get hurt but what I can commit to is when we realize that there is a risk, the county is committed to taking action, minimizing those risks, and hopefully it doesn't take an injury for that to happen."

Redel-Reed confirmed the man rescued from the dome is fully recovered and back at work.

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