Worker falls off mobile work platform

by on April 2, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Workers may feel safe from falls inside mobile, elevated work platforms, such as scissors lifts and cherry pickers. There are built-in safety devices: If you maintain your center of gravity and use the equipment as specified, you’re highly confident you’re coming down safely.

But as a recent tragedy at a South Carolina aircraft manufacturer shows, workers do fall out of them. Details are sketchy, but there is what is known. A worker, David Priester, 38, of North Charleston, SC, died 11 days after suffering multiple blunt-force trauma injuries. The Boeing Co. worker had fallen from a mobile platform, and his injuries included a traumatic brain injury.

Priester was working in composite fabrication area in the “aft body” building. This is where Boeing builds the rear fuselage for 787s; there are usually about 650 workers in this area. Amid a busy shift, Priester apparently lost his balance. After the fall, Priester survived 11 days in a hospital before succumbing to his injuries.

OSHA and the company are investigating how that happened.

In cases like these, usually the platform is moved with someone remaining “up top” or a worker reaches out past his or her center of gravity. It’s also possible for a mobile platform, not properly secured, to be struck from the ground level and shake workers off balance.

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