Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) FF 2002-03
Steel Worker Falls
From Scissors Lift
A 61-year-old experienced steel erector was hired to install bolts on over-
head beams at a new building site. He was instructed by his employer to
use an on-site scissors lift until he reached an area where a small ditch was
located, which would take two days. On the third day the employer would
provide another lift with a personnel basket which would be more stable.
Since the victim had many years experience, the employer did not formally
train him on their lift. When the victim arrived for work the third morning,
he moved the scissors lift along the completed area of the building to the
area adjacent to the ditch. He turned the lift towards the building, easing
the lift up to the ditch’s edge. The ditch was 12 inches deep and several
feet long. He extended the lift to a full 24 foot height while standing on the
end of a platform extension. He was still unable to reach the work area, so
he eased the lift forward. As the wheels started over the edge, the lift began
to fall forward. The victim attempted to stop the forward motion by push-
ing the red STOP button which locked all four wheels. The center of grav-
ity was now over the ditch’s edge and the entire unit slid about a foot while
continuing to topple over. The victim was ejected from the basket and im-
pacted the ground. He was pronounced dead a short time later of internal
Employers should develop and enforce all written safe work procedures follow-
ing manufacturers specifications or recommendations, including never position-
ing a scissors lift while in an elevated position.
Employers should provide refresher training to all new employees specific to the
equipment used on the work site.
Prior to the start of work, employers should inspect and evaluate a work area to
determine if the equipment they provide for their employees to use is correct for
the job assigned.