Saturday, June 20, 2009

Aerial Lift Incident Takes Another Life

Aerial Lifts Dangerous

The article below by Kevin O'Neal of the Call Star, addresses the fact that Aerial Work Platforms can be deceivingly dangerous on work sites, especially in rough terrain sites.

How and why did this worker manage to be thrown from the basket of this machine? While these machines can be an excellent means of accessing elevated work locations, the travel movements across rough terrain while the boom is extended can accelerate the motion of the basket if and when the wheels cross a hole or over objects on the ground causing the basked to act like a catapult, thus throwing any occupant in the basket out.

This is the primary cause for injuries and death of workers who are not properly anchored to the anchor points in the basket's framework.

If the worker in this incident was trained in the use of these type machines, the first thing he should have been instructed in should have been how to, where to and why anchoring is critical. Failure to do this just accentuates the use of Donkey Sense.

Another possible cause for this type incident could be found in the type lanyard hooks being used. Some of the very large lanyard hooks similar to ones used by scaffold builders have weak or easy to "roll out" when used in aerial lifts.

Contractors should assure that ALL workers that use this type equipment are properly trained and constant visual observations as to how they are being used.

Convention work stopped until Monday; Labor committee may look at safety concerns

Officials continue to investigate fatal accident; labor committee likely to look at safety issues

Posted: June 19, 2009

Work at the Indiana Convention Center construction site Downtown was suspended until Monday as investigators probe a worker's deadly fall from an elevated lift.

"Our hearts go out to the (family of Stanley) Roberts," said John P. Klipsch, director of the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority. "We want to do a good job in investigating the accident."

Investigators have concluded that Roberts' safety harness was not properly attached to the device when it tipped and threw him 50 feet to the ground about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Indiana Department of Labor investigators will try to determine why Roberts' safety gear was not connected. The investigation could take months.

The convention center expansion, on the site of the former RCA Dome, is a $275 million project that will nearly double the facility's size. The expected completion date is late 2010.

Shiel Sexton, the general contractor on the project, has a policy that any worker elevated more than 6 feet must be connected to a harness and safety line to prevent falls, said Sean M. Keefer, deputy commissioner for the Indiana Department of Labor.

The state will look into several aspects of the accident, including the lift's movements when the fall took place.

The lifts, once called cherry pickers, typically have controls on their platforms that let the operator move them while the platform is elevated.

Roberts, 55, worked for Harmon Steel of Indianapolis. He had been trained to operate the lift and had experience in using the device on job sites, Klipsch said.

The Center for Construction Research and Training

reported that an average of 26 construction workers die each year from using aerial lifts.

There were 35 fatal boom lift falls in the U.S. construction industry from 1992 to 1999. Roberts' death renewed concerns about safety regulations for operating boom lifts, tall cranes and other elevated equipment.

Rep. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, said this accident likely will prompt a further examination from his office of whether changes in state safety regulations are needed.

He said he wants to talk to officials and engineers on the site from the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"We want to ensure that every precaution is being taken and all of the safety standards are being applied," said Niezgodski, chairman of the Indiana House Labor and Employment Committee.

• Star reporter Vic Ryckaert contributed to this story. Call Star reporter Kevin O'Neal at (317) 444-6304.

1 comment:

Jdaly said...

I am the family lawyer. My thoughts are at