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OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Superman and Xtraman portable Hoists


October 16, 1989

MEMORANDUM FOR:

REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS

THROUGH:

  • LEO CAREY
  • Director
  • Office of Field Programs

FROM:

  • EDWARD BAIER
  • Director
  • Directorate of Technical Support

SUBJECT:

  • Safety Hazard Information Bulletin on Superman and Xtraman portable Hoists

The Atlanta Regional Office has brought to our attention potential hazards involved with the use of a portable hoist marketed variously as the "Xtraman" or "Superman" device. The hoist has an adjustable fulcrum and relies on the operator himself as the counterweight. (See attached "Superman" brochure). A fatality occurred with the use of an "Xtraman" unit when it tipped upward at the edge of a roof and made contact with a power line.

No OSHA or consensus standards apply specifically to a device of this type. Even though the manufacturer advises caution in determining boom length for given operator and load masses, it is evident that a change in either without proper adjustment of the boom length could be catastrophic. Since the hoist must be assembled for each task, there is a higher than usual risk of human error. Potential unsafe conditions include improper positioning of the fulcrum, failure to assure that all components are properly locked in place, and failure to block or lock the wheels to prevent movement. Moreover, using the device on an inclined surface requires additional precautions to assure worker safety.

Please distribute this bulletin to all Area Offices, State Plan States and Consultation Projects.

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