Italian lift accident highlights safety

19 March 2008

The accident, which happened on 1 May during a special event to mark workers day, was captured on video and the TV broadcast nationally. One of the victims was the mother of a local health and safety officer, and – in another tragic irony – the festival included a minute's silence for victims of work accidents.

Access International understands l that the Oil 'Steel platform was carrying three people in the basket – it was rated for two – and that it was also being used as a crane to lift lighting. The work area had not been cordoned off and the unit had not been inspected for five years.

Gerhard Hillebrand, IPAF's representative in Italy, told Access International that the accident l “woke everybody up”. He said it had accelerated efforts to “cleanup” Italian law on platform use and that it could lead to the privatisation of machine inspections, a task that is currently carried out by local government.

Andrea Certo, the new chief executive of Oil 'Steel, said the company had conducted its own investigation and had helped the authorities throughout. He told AI that the platform's basket had “clear signs of damage from previous accidents” and that the unit was “clearly overloaded”.

He said he would like to see annual safety inspections competently performed. “The problem is that these are carried out by institutions [local government authorities] which have no clue how to do it. In many cases, they do not even see the platform, they just put a stamp on a document.” Mr Certo added that the accident highlighted the need for operators to be well–trained.

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