A man operating a 26 metre boom lift in Altkirch, near Mulhouse, France had a lucky escape last week after the ground gave way under one of boom’s wheels.
The lift, a JLG 800AJ was being used on the 22nd of December, to replace roof tiles on the local school after a storm the previous week. We understand that the ground suddenly gave way under one of the wheels under the rear of the machine, causing it to tip over backwards.
Fortunately the lifts telescopic riser, came to rest on the stone gate pillar stopping the machine from falling further.
The operator, 51, who we are told was not wearing a harness, was extremely lucky not to have been thrown out of the platform. Instead he remained with the machine at a height of around six metres or so and was rescued by the local fire department which used a rescue ladder and winch to hoist him from the platform of the stricken boom lift.
This is a classic catalogue of errors, possibly starting with the wrong machine for the job. Possibly because the job might have required further overreach for some tiles? Having selected a machine that weighs over 15.5 tonnes, the ground, inside the school playground, was clearly not checked for its ability to support such a beast.
It is entirely possibly that a 12 metre spider lift, weighing around two tonnes, could have handled this work and been a lot more gentle on the ground.