A master stonemason died after falling roughly 30 feet to the ground from a wooden two-tiered work platform. The platform, which had been fabricated by the victim and another employee, was fastened to the forks of a powered industrial truck. At the time of the incident, the victim was preparing to exit the platform, and the front guardrails on the upper tier of the platform were not in place. The victim was not wearing any type of fall protection, and no safety procedures were in place requiring entry/exit, three-point contact and 100 percent tie-off. The victim asked another employee to lower the platform. The employee reported that he went down to ground level and climbed into the truck cab, waiting for the victim to exit the platform and tell him when he should move the platform. He stated that he could not see what the victim was doing, as the boom of the machine was elevated and the platform blocked his view. He saw a paintbrush – and then the victim – fall. The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead from severe head and upper body injuries.
To prevent future occurrences:
- Strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper usage of powered industrial trucks and never use any PITs as man-lifts or equip them with any form of personnel work platform, if they are not so designed.
- Ensure PITs are not modified or authorized to be modified in any way.
- Perform a hazard assessment before beginning any work that involves material movement and the lifting of workers.
- Develop and implement a fall protection plan
- Require all workers who operate PITs to receive training, and ensure they are certified to operate the machinery.
- Establish an enforcement policy for all employees that states work practices are expected to be performed in a manner consistent with applicable ANSI regulations, OSHA standards, and company health and safety policies.