Roofer Crushed Between Beam and Boom-Supported Elevating Work Platform

Image for Roofer Crushed Between Beam and Boom-Supported Elevating Work Platform

Type:  Safety Bulletin/Alert

Publisher:  Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Olympia, WA

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Occupational Safety and Health, Work Management/Planning, Hoisting and Rigging

On September 18, 2012, a 23-year-old roofer working from a boom-supported elevating work platform (also known as a boom or aerial lift) died when he was crushed between a horizontal building beam and the platform.

The operator had worked in the construction industry for 29 years and was a trained lift operator. The victim had worked in the industry for several months. They both had worked at the site for more than three weeks.

Working 14 feet above the ground from the elevated platform, the victim and an equipment operator were installing metal siding panels on a building. In front of the platform was a vertical column and an overhead horizontal beam. The operator began to move the lift sideways to the building to position it so that they could install another panel. As the lift began to move, the operator was watching to ensure that he did not hit the vertical column. The operator was just about to retract the boom, when the platform suddenly rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise. This action pinned and crushed the victim between the horizontal beam and the platforms control panel.

The operator, unable to access the panel, called for assistance from workers on the ground who were able to operate the lifts ground controls. An investigation found that the victim likely inadvertently activated the platforms rotation switch, which can be done by slight pressure, thereby causing the platform to rotate.

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