FACE Report: Two workers killed in boom lift rollover
Case report: #2019OR01
Issued by: Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of report: June 29, 2023
Two workers were operating a boom lift on uneven farmland where a music festival had taken place. The lift was being used to remove cables suspending fabric sails that had provided shade. It was on a hillside with its wheels parallel to the slope. The first-stage boom arm was extended about 40 feet uphill, while the counterweight was oriented on the downhill side of the slope. Two safety alarms – a tilt hazard alarm and a crush hazard alarm – had been disabled. The workers were moving the lift perpendicular to the hill slope with the boom arm extended when it tipped over in the downhill direction, catapulting the basket to the ground. The workers received blunt force trauma injuries. Other workers called 911 and attempted to give first aid. Emergency responders arrived within 10 minutes and pronounced the workers dead at the scene. Investigator interviews with sail-installation company employees, former employees and volunteers indicated that the practice of disabling the tilt alarm on lifts had been going on for years – and that management was aware of the practice. A former employee stated that she left the company because of issues with employees disabling alarms. An equipment rental company used in previous years reported that it stopped renting equipment for the event because it found an alarm disabled and an illegal substance on returned equipment.
To help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
- Ensure, through adequate supervision, that manufacturer instructions regarding equipment operation are followed.
- Provide training and supervision to ensure boom lift operators know not to move the boom lift with the boom extended.
- Maintain and regularly inspect equipment for operational safety.
- Implement pre-task planning for jobs that include varying conditions or environments.
- Train employees to operate equipment safely, verify training completion, and check knowledge and skill level.