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April 2017

Safety Notes

Accident Report

Event: Fall from elevation
Industry: Building construction
Worker: Shop supervisor

What happened?

A worker was thrown out of the basket of a boom lift as he was repositioning it on a trailer.

How it happened

The shop supervisor had just loaded a 26,060- pound Genie S-60 lift onto a trailer at the company's equipment yard after the vice president asked him to take it to a project eight miles away at the north end of town. The supervisor might not have realized that the lift weighed far more than the trailer's rated carrying capacity, but this wasn't the first time he had moved heavy equipment like the Genie S-60 lift. In fact, he had done similar jobs five or six times before without a problem.

There was something else he didn't realize: Another company employee who watched him load the lift on the truck trailer thought that it was "too far back" when he pulled out of the yard.

The shop supervisor had worked for the company for 17 years, and though he wasn't in management, he supervised employees in the yard, in the shop, and on painting projects. He had no reason to suspect that anything was wrong until he was about a half mile from the drop-off site. There was a six percent incline in the road and the truck began to lose traction as the weight of the lift on the trailer raised the truck's rear tires off the pavement.

He stopped in the right lane, called another employee at the drop-off site, and asked him to bring traffic cones. After they placed the cones, they chocked the truck's rear tires and released the binders that secured the lift to the trailer.

He climbed into the lift basket and extended the boom out over the back of the truck. He tried to move the lift toward the front of the trailer but for some reason, the lift moved the other way – toward the back of the trailer.

The lift dropped off one corner of the trailer and then fell completely off the back, throwing him out of the basket because he wasn't wearing fall-arrest gear. He was seriously injured after striking the boom, the side of the trailer, and the pavement.

illustrated representation of accident Illustration: Patricia Young

Violations

437-001-0760(1)(b)(B): The company had not taken all reasonable means to require employees to conduct their work in compliance with all applicable safety and health rules. The lift's weight exceeded the trailer's carrying capacity and the operating instructions on Genie S-60 control console were illegible.

437-003-0073(2): The shop supervisor was not using personal fall protection when he was working on a boom-supported elevating work platform.

437-001-0704(4): The company did not report the in-patient hospitalization to Oregon OSHA within 24 hours.

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