Contractor Safety Share

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Pay Attention to your Surroundings or It could be Fatal!

Pay Attention to your Surroundings or It could be Fatal!



While maneuvering an articulating boom lift, it is critical to know one's surroundings and swing radius of the rear counterweights.  The employee was positioning the lift in a location to perform his work safely.  As the employee swung the lift to his right in an effort to drop the basket on the ground, the rear counterweights swung to the left and collided with a 500 gallon propane tank.  The propane tank rolled counterclockwise hitting the valve on a concrete barrier.  The propane tank began releasing gas into the air creating a very explosive and unstable atmosphere in a large radius around the propane tank.

Factors to consider at your site and/or project include, but not limited to the following:

  • Know the swing radius of the counterweights on the lift.
  • Familiarize oneself with their surroundings and the safe distance to each of them.
  • Evaluate the storage area around the propane cylinder and ensure there is adequate distance between the protective barriers and the propane tank.
  • If the propane is not equipped with a protective cover over the valve, then have one fabricated or call the supplier for a new propane tank with the protective cover already in place. (OSHA 1926.153(h)(5)).
  • As an added measure of precaution, provide the lift operator with a ground man to prevent circumstances like this from occurring.  An extra set of eyes is always helpful.
Consider this example as you complete today’s work activities.
Safety Flash Action Items:
  • Date Contractor Safety Flash posted for all employees to review: _______________
  • Safety Talk meeting date: _______________
  • Full employee attendance and participation at safety meeting to review this incident (documentation required).
  • Employees understand urgency in protecting themselves and others.
  • Supervisors and Employees are clear which items shared in this Safety Flash are mandatory.
  • Employees/Supervisors will focus on recommended actions during future work activities of a similar nature.
Contract Firm Management Rep Signature____________________

THINK about the hazards associated with your particular work, and the steps that can be taken to increase safety on your job.


If you have questions about this CONTRACTOR SAFETY FLASH, please contact

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