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Fatal platform ejection

An electrician working from an aerial lift was thrown to his death in New York city in the early hours of yesterday morning after this platform was clipped by a passing truck.

The man Jose Polanco, 59, worked for Welsbach Electrical contractors that has the contract to maintain traffic lights and other lighting equipment for New York city. The incident occurred just after he had started a job working on an overhead traffic light in Elmhurst, in the borough of Queens. He was working from an Altec van mounted platform at a height of around four to five metres, when a passing box van owned by the Bakewell delivery company clipped the bottom of the lift bucket forcing it upwards and creating a catapult effect that threw him out of the platform. He does not appear to have been wearing a harness and lanyard.
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The platform was working over a street lane that was open to traffic

The sad thing is he had only telescoped into position over the street a minute of so before the truck, which appears to have been travelling at speed, came by. The platform remained intact and in place, and was in fact able to be lowered into an almost fully stowed position and driven off by a co worker – although the structure was clearly distorted from the impact.
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While the platform’s structure was clearly damaged, it remained intact and was able to be lowered and stowed

The truck driver was questioned by police and tested for alcohol or narcotics and was found to be all clear. He was later allowed to go on his way. Polanco however died later in hospital from a cardiac arrest. His employer Welsbach Electrical issued the following statement: "It is an unspeakable tragedy. Every single person deserves to go home from work. Right now, we are gathering the facts."


P.S. My condolences to the Polanco family. R.I.P. Mr. Polanco.

Sep 17, 2019

Tragic is a good descriptive word but also traumatic for what Jose experienced on the job then at the hospital where he passed away. Inexcusable is a word for investigators...did Jose have a teammate riding along to help set up the work zone with safety barriers? Could a police cruiser have been requested to manage traffic while the work zone got set up, maybe even through job completion? Around the world this month in the industries that work-at-height at least 11 workers have died. Countless minutes hours days weeks months and years of training most surely were devoted to and expended into the lives now gone. Who knows where their replacements will come from and how long will it take to fill their shoes with trained technicians ready to go to job sites and carry on the work. If our weather in north Arkansas were not so hot and humid I would be in my aerial Niftylift working trees, not sitting here writing my thoughts about workplace accidents and fatalities all in the direction of improving workplace safety. Twenty years three months ago I fell 20’ from a tree because of my mistake of failing to tie in. When I hit the ground I wondered “is this it”? I’m deeply grateful for the help that came quickly, the ambulance drivers, nurses, surgeons and therapists that put Humpty Dumpty together again. I’ll plea for safety at work play home auto as long as I live.

Sep 17, 2019
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