Most incidents where construction workers fall from elevated platforms have a common theme: the workers were not using fall protection or weren’t properly tied off.
Workers operating inside buckets are at risk of being ejected or bounced out of the buckets to the ground below when:
- Moving the lifting equipment from one area to another.
- The lifting equipment is struck by a motor vehicle.
- The bucket gets lodged in objects.
- The lifting equipment suddenly shifts because it is being operated on grades, side slopes or ramps that exceed manufacturer’s recommendations.
How do you keep yourself and your co-workers safe when working in buckets or on elevated platforms?
- Be sure you have the proper training on the set-up and use of elevated platforms. Unqualified, untrained workers should never operate elevated work platforms.
- Implement a traffic control plan after determining if flaggers or other traffic control (such as barriers, cones and signage) are necessary to protect workers operating near motor vehicles.
- Do a prestart inspection of the components of the elevating work platform.
- Survey the area before using the elevating platform to look for hazards such as untamped earth fills, ditches, drop-offs, debris, overhead obstructions and electrical conductors, weather conditions and unauthorized persons in the area.
- Make sure the elevating work platform is on a surface that is within the limits specified by the manufacturer. Be certain that outriggers, stabilizers, extendable axles, or other stability enhancing methods are used as required by the manufacturer.
- Choose the appropriate fall protections system based on the equipment manufacturer’s specification.
- Inspect your fall protection equipment daily. Look for fraying ropes, cracks or other defects in the hardware.
- Tag and remove defective equipment from service.
- Ensure that all persons working in a bucket or on an elevated platform wear the appropriate fall protection and that it is fixed to the manufacturer-provided and approved attachment points.
- Keep the manufacturer’s operation manual available onsite for reference by operators.