Now more than ever, construction sites are keeping a close eye on safety, particularly when it comes to falls. “The most frequent injuries and fatalities in construction are falls from a height,” Wendy Hunt says. “When they fall from a height on a big project, they’re likely to land on something sharp.”

One object they are likely to fall on is concrete reinforcement bars, but that is where Carnie Cap, Inc. can help. Hunt serves as the CEO for the Moline, Illinois-based company, which provides systems that prevent impalement on rebar.

She explains a site safety auditor working for a large contractor in the western U.S. developed the system when complaints were received on a jobsite that standard rebar caps were falling off, and in some instances, impalement was still occurring. “They didn’t feel they were safe enough,” Hunt says.

After collecting input, the idea was to place 2-inch by 4-inch beams in two squared U-shaped brackets that were supported by a tube that slipped over and encased the rebar. A larger model was created for larger diameters of rebar. A product was patented but took 9 months of testing before releasing it to the market. The product was sold to the current owners in 2004.


Today, Carnie Cap, Inc. sells the system, which allows builders to comply with OSHA standards, including the requirement of withstanding a 250-lb weight dropped from 7.5 feet without the rebar breaking through. (The Carnie Cap™ was tested with a 10-foot drop). The systems work using only 2 Carnie Caps™ for every 8 linear feet of rebar (CAL-OSHA requires spacing every 4 linear feet and doubling the thickness of the lumber.) It also has proven advantages over previous rebar cap systems.

Carnie Cap, Inc.’s products also work better than flat caps that have metal in them, Hunt says. When a body hits these products, “They’re not going to hit just one part,” she explains. “They’re going to hit in stages.”

On the first stage, “The rebar cap gets pushed down and the rebar pokes through the first layer of plastic, hits the metal insert and bends to the side,” she describes. In the nanoseconds after the initial impact, other body parts hit and that’s when impalement is most likely to occur.

Carnie Cap, Inc.’s system sets itself apart by featuring a longer plastic barrel that holds the rebar cap in place, keeping them from falling off easily, and the wood absorbs the impact and prevents impalement. “To our knowledge, nobody has ever been impaled using our caps,” Hunt states.

“The importance of using fall protection devices including, but not limited to the Carnie Cap™, cannot be overstressed. We caution veteran workers and new workers alike to be mindful of their safety equipment. It is there to protect you, whether you have been on the job for many years or only a day,” Hunt says.

It’s Carnie Cap’s mission to act as the last line of defense against impalement. The company’s motto is “Proudly Preventing the Human Shish Kabob.”   

For more, visit