Two men had a close call in the UK last week when the top boom/jib of a truck mounted platform went into free fall and crashed into the main boom.
The incident occurred last Tuesday night on a trading estate in Southampton where a 45 metre Palfinger /Wumag WT 450 owned by Winner Access was working on a telecoms antenna. With social distancing the order of the day, and the requirement for the machine to be supplied with operator, the company provided a much larger platform than required, in order to benefit from the long extended platform, which is just under four metres long/wide. We understand that there were only two people in the platform at the time – the operator and the contractor, although one report claimed there were three people in the platform.
The machine was working with the main boom fully elevated and the two section telescopic top boom or jib elevated but retracted. The total load in the platform was 316kg, the maximum capacity in that configuration is 600kg.
The platform was being used to work on an antenna when a bracket within the jib luffing mechanism reportedly snapped or failed in some way, allowing the jib to drop until it struck the main boom lift cylinder, catapulting one of the two occupants out of the platform. Thankfully, they were both wearing harnesses and lanyards, the operator was using a short restraint harness and managed to remain in the platform while the other man had a longer lanyard and was thrown out. However the platform was close enough the deck of the truck that they were both able to climb out and down onto the deck and did not suffer any serious injuries.
The platform was taken to the premises of SkyLift Engineering in Milton Keynes which has carried out a full inspection and submitted the results to Palfinger Platforms for further evaluation.
We have contacted Palfinger and are waiting on its official response, in the meantime owners of WT450 platforms have been asked to carry out a full inspection before using them.