Problem: This study examined deaths of construction workers due to personnel lifts (boom-supported and scissor lifts, suspended scaffolds, and crane platforms).
Methods: Deaths of construction workers for 1992-1999 were examined using data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, a Bureau of Labor Statistics database.
Results: The study identified 339 deaths: 42% from boom-supported lifts; 26% from suspended scaffolds; 19% from scissor lifts; 5% from crane platforms; and 7% from unapproved lifts (e.g., forklift platforms). The main causes of death were falls (36%), collapses/tipovers (29%), and electrocutions (21%).
Discussion: Recommendations include: following OSHA regulations, wearing personal fall protection equipment, adequate maintenance, inspection before use, and training on the model of lift used. Precautions are also needed to prevent contact with overhead power lines.
Impact on industry: The increasing popularity of boom-supported lifts and scissor lifts, both in construction and other industries, make their safety an important issue.