A man has died after the scissor lift he was working from overturned in Alqueries, Spain.
The man, Héctor Raúl Santisteban, 57, was we understand, painting the exterior of a warehouse in the town of Alqueries, north of Valencia on Sunday. He was working at a height of almost 10 metres from a Haulotte Compact 10N scissor lift that is indoor rated only. On top of that the building he was working on has a slight slope away from the façade.
He remained in the platform taking the full impact when it struck the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the emergency services arrived. Two people were arrested following an initial investigation, they included the person responsible for commissioning the work and the man he contracted to carry it out, who then recruited Santiseban.
According to his relatives Santisteban was asked to do the job on a Sunday “to avoid the risk of the Labour Inspectorate turning up.”
The Guardia Civil said that the two men were arrested for reckless homicide after concluding that the deceased had not been provided with any risk assessments, risk prevention measures, or any instructions using the machine safely.
It is a matter of fact that many narrow slab electric scissors intended and certified for indoor use only, do still get used outside. Most often on the exterior of a building as in this case. It is very unusual that when this happens anything like this occurs.
Most often people think of the wind as being the main issue or risk, but all too often they are used against a wall where they are protected/sheltered, unless they extend the platform above the roof line.
However, while the interiors of most facilities have firm level concrete floors, the same is not usually true outside, where a lift might face anything from a kerb to sloping ground etc... One thing the investigators need to check in this case is whether the machine’s slope sensor and interlock were functioning correctly. Although it must be said that we have no idea what actually caused this machine to overturn.
It does not appear to be related to the machine itself - so was likely to have been a freak wind gust or sloping ground or a combination of the two.
This is, of course, a tragic event for the family and a reminder of how seemingly minor risks can still go badly wrong.