A 46 year-old man in Butte, Montana, died from an aerial lift accident with injuries that incurred when an aerial lift vehicle in which he was riding tipped over on its side. The lift, a Genie S-60, was sitting on a flatbed truck when the accident occurred. Both he and another man, who escaped with minor injuries, were in the bucket of the lift when it fell off the truck. The deceased was thrown from the bucket and flown to Missoula Hospital, where he later died.
The men were in the process of adjusting the machinery prior to unloading the forklift at its destination. It is understood the operator of the lift had been slewing the boom through 180 degrees (rotating it along its axis) when the accident occurred. He raised the base boom and the lift overturned while the boom was over the side of the truck.
Although OSHA has not yet completed its investigation of the accident, it has already issued the owner of the lift, Blue Sky Rental, with a fine for failing to report the accident within the statutory eight hours. A full investigation is expected to take months. Among the questions that undoubtedly will be asked are whether the men inside the bucket were wearing safety harnesses and if the operator of the aerial lift was fully trained and certified to OSHA standards.
Despite strict OSHA regulations and the prospect of heavy fines levied on companies who employ untrained, uncertified operators, it is not unusual for delivery drivers to unknowledgeable about the correct procedures for loading, unloading or even operating the equipment they are delivering.
The Blue Sky client will be affected, as will the residents of the home whose house was damaged by the falling bucket. Hopefully, this will affect you, too. Employers, never let an uncertified operator near a aerial lift. Drivers, make sure you receive proper OSHA-compliant training and that you keep it up to date.