21.12.2006

Two men ejected from platform

Two men fell 12 metres from a boom lift after they were catapulted out of the platform in Osage, Iowa, after the boom dropped or retracted without warning.

The two men, Travis Brosdahl, 24, and Tyler Binnebose, 22, both of Osage, Iowa, were painting a shed that they had erected. Local reports say that the Snorkelift boom dropped or retracted suddenly, ejecting the men when it came to a stop creating a catapult effect.

Neither man was wearing a safety harness or lanyard. Brosdahl suffered a broken leg, ankle and possibly hip, while Binnebose was taken to Austin Medical Center with severe chest pains related to the fall.

Both men are employed by J&K Construction of Osage.

Vertikal Comment

These two men were very lucky but might have escaped without injury if they had worn a harness and short lanyard.

IF all of the local reports are fully accurate, this is a rare accident where a failure on the machine itself has started off the accident.

This can happen through a variety of causes, for example should a hose on a lift cylinder be cut, it is possible that the boom will drop suddenly until the safety device, such as a velocity fuse or holding valve cuts in. When it does, the boom will stop suddenly creating a catapult effect.

If the correct harness and lanyard are worn this simply creates a severe scare, if not the occupants of the platform are likely to be ejected.

The same can occur in the case where a telescope chain breaks (invariably due to poor maintenance and corrosion) The boom will retract rapidly until either it bottoms out or it is stopped by a back up mechanism.

Once again the sudden stop, caused by a safety system can eject the occupants of the basket. Unless they are wearing a harness.

The UK companies that were represented at Monday’s IPAF/CPA action meeting on harness use in booms, are expected to issue a strong statement today on the use of harnesses and short lanyards on booms.

In our poll which is now two and a half weeks old, 530 votes have so far been cast, 76.8% of which say Yes to making harnesses compulsory by law.

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