Safety Tips FACE Reports

FACEValue: Roofer crushed between beam and work platform

Case report: #12WA03701*
Issued by: Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: Sept. 18, 2012

A 23-year-old roofer working from a boom lift died when he was crushed between a horizontal building beam and the lift platform. The boom operator had 29 years of experience and was a trained lift operator. The victim had worked in the industry for several months. Working 14 feet above the ground, the victim and operator were installing metal siding panels. The operator began to move the lift sideways and was watching to ensure he did not hit a vertical column. The operator was about to retract the boom when the platform suddenly rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise. This resulted in the victim being pinned and crushed between the horizontal beam and the platform’s control panel. The operator, unable to access the panel, called for workers on the ground to operate the lift’s ground controls. An investigation determined that the victim likely inadvertently activated the platform’s rotation switch, which can be done using only slight pressure.

To prevent future occurrences:

  • Perform job hazard assessments to identify overhead obstructions and how to avoid them.
  • Consider purchasing or retrofitting aerial lifts with an operator protective structure to protect workers from being crushed against overhead obstructions.
  • Equipment manufacturers should design aerial platform controls so they are protected against inadvertent activation by workers.