U.S. Department of Labor
Process: Surface Preparation and Preservation
Falls: Case History
A worker was assigned to a painting job on the outside of a ship’s hull. He drove his aerial lift under the ship and raised the basket. While adjusting the basket’s final position under the hull, the worker unknowingly created spring tension on the boom of the lift.
When the worker completed painting in the initial area, he moved the lift backward without lowering the basket. This suddenly released the spring tension, throwing the worker over the top rail. The worker was not wearing a personal fall arrest system that was tied off, and as a result he was killed from the fall.
Analysis and Preventive Measures
Employers must ensure that workers understand all of the potential hazards associated with operating aerial lifts. Incidents can be prevented by implementing a training program and requiring each worker to have an operator's permit for mobile equipment.
The fall in the example above may have been prevented if the appropriate fall protection was used, as required in aerial lifts (29 CFR 1910.67(c)(2)(v)).