AFI Resale

Overturn dumps two in water

29. May 2012 | Comments (0)

Two men were lucky to escape earlier this month when the ground under the wheels of the telescopic boom lift they were using, subsided, overturning the lift and dumping them into the sea at a port in Western Australia.

The two were ignoring most safety advice and training not to use a harness and lanyard while working over water, and to use a life vest, but they did manage to unclip themselves and swim to safety.

Geraldton WA
The ground subsided under the machines wheels

The incident occurred on the evening of May 4th at the port of Geraldton, north of Perth in Western Australia.

The lift, a 125ft Genie S-125 owned by Onsite Rental, was working on sandy soil near to the edge of Berth 5, the boom was well extended over the side at a fairly low elevation to carry out work on a conveyor that passes over the water. The boom’s wheels then sank into the soft ground, the machine overturned and the platform was thrust under water, giving the operators a soft landing, but potentially trapping them with their lanyards.

W Australia Geraldton
The platform was thrust completely under water

Thankfully this did not happen and neither were seriously injured, although both were taken to hospital, one with a minor injury and both in a state of shock. They were later released and have returned to work. Neither was wearing a flotation device.

The port, which has categorised this as a 'serious near miss', says that the platform was operated by contractors to Karara Mining. The incident was reported to Worksafe WA for investigation.

Vertikal Comment

This is another example of a heavy machine working on suspect ground, the Genie 125 weighs over 20 tonnes and while this ground is made up of rocks as well as sand, it is obviously suspect.

On top of this it seems that the two men were wearing the wrong kind of protection for the application, and should have had some sort of flotation device and unattached their lanyards whilst over the water.

This is a rare example of an incident that shows how important IPAF’s long held advice not to wear harnesses while working in boom lifts over water is. The recent increased focus on ground conditions – whether it be under outriggers or under the wheels of self-propelled machines is clearly needed.