Two men are alive today thanks to the fact that they wearing harnesses and short lanyards when the boom lift they were using dropped suddenly.
The lift a Genie Z-135/70 was being used in Kingston, Massachusetts, yesterday to service a 34 meter high mobile phone tower. Witnesses claim that there was a loud bang followed by the basket dropping several meters, throwing tools and materials out of the platform, while the two occupants only managed to remain in the basket thanks to the their short lanyards.
The platform after the two men had been rescued
The platform then came to a halt, it looks as though the articulated jib lift-cylinder may somehow have lost pressure temporarily, causing the free fall. Two access panels from the mast, can be seen suspended from the basket.
A 33 meter ladder platform was called in to rescue the men who were then transported to a local Hospital with minor injuries. The lift was brought down to the stowed position using its lower controls. OSHA is expected on site today to inspect the machine which was rented locally.
The rescue in process
While an incident such as this is exceptionally rare, it does highlight how important it is to always wear a harness and short lanyard when working from any kind of boom lift.
The chances of experiencing an incident like the one above is as likely than having an accident while flying in a commercial airliner – But if it should happen, the use of a harness will generally mean that those in the platform have dinner with their family after such an incident, rather than being laid out for relatives to identify.