Recently, two separate lift-upgrading related incidents occurred within a week, when workers fell into lift shafts during work. One worker survived the fall in one incident while another was killed in the other incident.
In the first incident, a worker was tasked to install electrical panels at a riser located on the 9th and 10th storey outside a lift shaft. While marking out the positions of the panels inside the riser on the 9th storey, the worker fell through the unprotected lift door opening into the lift shaft. He managed to grab onto an existing lifeline meant for a lift shaft gondola and that slowed down his fall. The worker landed at the new lift car platform which was at the 1st storey. He survived with injuries to his head, neck and hands.
In the second incident, as part of lift dismantling works, two workers were lowering lift components from the lift motor room of a 12-storey building into the lift pit below. The items were lowered down manually, using a length of nylon rope. One stood outside the elevated lift motor slab beam, while the other stood inside it. When they were lowering a pair of C-channels (combined weight approximately 180kg), the worker inside the raised beam fell through the floor opening, landed in the lift pit and was killed. The deceased was found wearing a safety harness.
Stakeholders involved in similar work situations can undertake control measures such as the following to prevent recurrence:
1. A Fall Prevention Plan (FPP) is a framework that allows for safe work at height through a systematic and organised method of identifying, managing and controlling hazards in the workplace. The details of the FPP are specified in the Code of Practice for Working Safely at Height.
2. Lift shaft openings should be guarded or barricaded to prevent accidental falls of persons or items into the lift shaft. Such guards or barricades should only be removed for approved work processes and must be replaced as soon as the work is completed or stopped.
3. Workers carrying out work at height should be provided with, and trained in the proper use of appropriate personal protective equipment. Fall protection and travel restraint systems need to be anchored to provide the intended protection for workers against falling from height.
4. Work out a safe method for lowering heavy items. In the second case, using a chain block or pulley system would have decreased the physical strain of lowering heavy loads. Alternatively, the load could have been reduced by lowering one C-channel at a time. Additionally, the worker might have been prevented from falling by working outside of the raised beam instead of within it.
Courtesy from WSHC. Please visit http://www.wshc.sg for more infomation