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Worker struck when unsecured load fell off platform hoist

Date of incident: July 2014
Notice of incident number: 2014154890065
Employer: Roofing company

Incident summary
Roofing materials were being lifted with a platform hoist from a first-floor patio to a roof at a condominium complex. The hoist jammed. The lift operator released the tension of the cable pulling on the platform, and the platform travelled down at a higher-than-normal speed. At approximately halfway between the patio level and the roof, the platform came off the track. The platform turned upside-down and released the unsecured load of roofing panels. The panels hit the worker operating the platform hoist below. He was knocked over a parapet wall off the patio level to the ground 12 feet below and sustained a head injury.

Investigation conclusions

  • Unsecured load on platform hoist fell, striking the lift operator: The hoist jammed, and the platform came off its track. As a result, the unsecured load of roofing panels was dumped and struck the lift operator working below. The lift operator was knocked over a parapet wall, through an unguarded section of the patio landing, to the alley 12 feet below.

Underlying factors

  • Damaged platform hoist was not removed from service: Earlier that same day, the platform hoist had jammed and the load had fallen from the platform, narrowly missing the lift operator. The platform hoist was not removed from service, and the supervisor approved its continued use.
  • Platform hoist not inspected by professional engineer after it jammed: After the platform hoist jammed the first time, the platform came off the track and there was a visible deformity in the form of an S-curve in the track system. A hammer was used to help align the track. However, the employer did not have a professional engineer supervise an inspection and any necessary repairs to the equipment.

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Publication Date: Jul 2014 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2014154890065