On June 27, 2003, a 28-year-old male sound technician died due to injuries received after falling approximately 50 feet from a lift. Three men (one chief sound engineer and two sound technicians) were sent to repair a sound system in a school gymnasium. Upon arriving and assessing the situation, the three diagnosed that a particular speaker, located in the rafters, should be removed from its location. Using a 30-year-old telescoping, self-leveling lift belonging to the school, the chief engineer used controls located at the base of the lift, to hoist the two sound technicians to the speaker in the rafter. After determining which tools they needed to remove the speaker, the chief engineer lowered the two men to the ground. They retrieved the appropriate tools from their equipment truck and proceeded to be hoisted a second time to the speaker. After removing the speaker from the rafter, the two sound technicians placed the speaker in the middle of the lift’s basket and the chief engineer reversed the direction of the lift and began to lower the two men and the speaker to ground level. Shortly after the lift began to descend, it started to tilt to the east side of the gym. The lift continued its fall to the ground. Both sound technicians were critically injured and transported to a hospital where one survived and the other died of multiple blunt force trauma.

The following recommendations have been made to help prevent further similar incidents from occurring:

Recommendation No. 1: Training of supervisors and employees on equipment should include, but not be limited to: load capacity, work height, use of outriggers, and weight calculations.

Recommendation No. 2: All equipment should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications on a regular basis and maintenance records kept up-to-date. If equipment is borrowed, the borrower should inspect these records prior to using the equipment and receive appropriate safety training pertinent to the equipment.

Recommendation No. 3: Older equipment should be inspected to ensure it complies with the latest requirements of the American National Safety Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards.

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