A female tree worker died earlier this morning when the boom of a truck mounted platform/bucket truck suffered a structural failure.
The woman -Tsang Choi-yu, 55, was trimming trees along the edge of the street with a colleague. The two were working from the fibreglass platform of a 22 metre Benelligru 6000PL22RC truck mounted lift, which is sign written as belonging to Hong Kong West Tree Team - part of the government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which is also where the two tree workers are employed. They were working at a height of around seven metres when the upper boom seems to have sheared off just before the knuckle joint with the main boom.
The upper boom dropped dramatically, striking the main boom catapulting something from the platform. Thankfully the two occupants remained in the bucket, thanks to their harnesses and short lanyards. The platform came to rest at a height of around three to four metres. It was quickly clear however that they were both hurt, one of them seriously requiring her to be rescued.
They were rushed to hospital where the man was treated for a broken rib, while the woman sadly passed away shortly after arrival.
A statement from the Labour Department said that it is investigating a fatal work accident that occurred in Western District this morning in which a woman died in the accident and that it had immediately dispatched staff to the scene to investigate the cause of the incident.
We will update this if and when we learn more.
The following video shows a little of what happened
We reported on a similar incident yesterday and said that such catastrophic structural failures are very rare. Although it can be argued that when they do occur it is usually on machines that are involved with tree work, where the booms can be, and often are, struck by falling limbs. Or even worse, the tree cutter ties off a limb to the boom before cutting it free, adding dynamic shock loads which eventually lead to fatigue failure. That is unless resulting cracks are picked up in routine inspections and dealt with properly.
We have no idea what happened in this case, or the one we covered yesterday, but hopefully we will all learn from both incidents, in the meantime two people in their 50s are gone.
PS: Oh and if you are superstitious you might well subscribe to the belief that 'bad things come in threes'. If so and you are using a platform or a crane this week, use this as an excuse to take extra care and follow the recommended pre-use inspection protocols.