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    TWO DROWNED TRAPPED IN SUSPENDED MAN BASKET

    Workmen unable to disconnect from the submerged platform

    It has been reported (31/08/15) by specialist crane website Vertikal.net that two men died the on Saturday 29th August after a man basket “suspended from a loader crane” dropped into the river in Limerick, Ireland.

    Vertikal states:

    “Three men working for an unnamed sub-contractor were carrying out repairs to the Thomond Bridge from a man basket slung from the hook of a Palfinger articulated loader crane, owned by local company Cussen Crane Hire when something broke, dropping the platform into the water. Local reports suggest that it was the hoist cable – the crane was fitted with a boom mounted winch and was working over a single sheave attachment.

    The three men were working from a basket suspended from an articulated loader crane

    All three were wearing life jackets as well as harnesses and lanyards, after the platform sunk into the water, one of them managed to unclip or cut his harness and float to the surface where he was quickly rescued. It is understood that the other two -one in his 20s and one in his 40s – floated to within a metre of the surface but were unable to disconnect themselves from the submerged platform.

    The basket was suspended from a hoist cable

    Emergency services were quick to attend the incident and rapidly freed the two men, but were unable to revive them. They were declared dead on arrival at the hospital. A statement, the local authority, which is responsible for the bridge, said that it is working with an investigation being conducted by the gardaí (police) and the Health and Safety Authority.

    The basket was recovered from the river and sent off for inspection along with the truck and crane. The submerged basket was recovered and sent off for investigation”

    Comment

    In the UK the advice from HSE when working from a MEWP over water is as follows:

    “The information sheet recommends that only a lifejacket should be worn when working near water if there is a foreseeable risk that the either MEWP or the occupant could end up in the water.

    If harnesses need to be worn for other reasons (e.g. movement/work elsewhere or to aid rescue/recovery) this is acceptable but the occupant should not be connected to the MEWP whilst activities near to or over water are taking place. As soon as the MEWP moves away from such areas the occupant should connect him/herself to the attachment point. In these circumstances the standard of instruction and supervision should be such that inappropriate work activity that might lead to a person falling from the basket or the MEWP overturning is avoided.”

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