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Worker fell from unguarded end of scissor lift

Date of incident: November 2015
Notice of incident number: 2015156240211
Employer: Fireproofing application company

Incident summary

A worker on an elevated scissor lift was spraying fire retardant to a ceiling that was 19 feet (5.8 metres) high in a unit under construction at a shopping centre. After the spraying was complete, the worker borrowed a different scissor lift and was using a broom to clean fire retardant overspray from an area of the wall. The worker lost his balance and fell backward from the elevated lift to the concrete floor below, receiving fatal injuries.

Investigation conclusions


  • End guardrail missing from elevated scissor lift: With the approval of the site superintendent, the worker used a scissor lift belonging to another firm. The end guardrail at the entry/exit point had been removed and the midrail safety chain was not in place. With the platform of the scissor lift raised to just over 10 feet (3 metres), the worker, who was not wearing a personal fall arrest system, was sweeping fire retardant overspray from the wall near the ceiling. The worker fell from the unguarded end of the scissor lift and received fatal injuries as a result of the fall.

Underlying factors

  • Failure to conduct preuse inspection of scissor lift: The worker, who was properly trained in the use of scissor lifts, failed to conduct and document a preuse inspection of the scissor lift used in this incident. This failure is contrary to his employer’s health and safety program, the manufacturer’s instructions for the scissor lift, and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
  • Use of improperly equipped scissor lift: The worker raised and used the lift without the guardrail in place and without using the midrail safety chain. This is contrary to his training, his employer’s health and safety program, the manufacturer’s instructions for the scissor lift, and the Regulation.
  • Prime contractor’s failure to coordinate health and safety: The prime contractor failed in its responsibility to coordinate all activities in this multipleemployer workplace. The prime contractor allowed the worker to use an improperly equipped scissor lift, failed to address three scissor lifts that were improperly equipped at the workplace during inspections, and failed to orient the two workers who were applying fire retardant, contrary to the Workers Compensation Act.

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Publication Date: Jul 2017 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2015156240211