Scissor Lift Topples, Kills 2 at Port


Two public-works employees were killed and a third was critically injured when a scissor lift they were working from toppled over in Port Everglades, FL, hurling them several stories to the pavement below, authorities said.

The Broward County Public Works employees were performing routine maintenance about 10:40 a.m. Friday (March 15) on a passenger bridge in Fort Lauderdale when the four-story-high lift fell onto a concrete dock.

The Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating the accident, and the U.S. Coast Guard has been notified, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Victims Identified

The Sheriff's Office identified the deceased as Kenneth Krason, 49, and Mark Freeman, 51. Thomas Fischer, 49, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. His condition was not available Tuesday afternoon.

Freeman and Fischer had been on the job for only five days, authorities said. Krason had been working at the port since 1997 and had been a county employee since 1991.

"It's sad to have to talk about these type of things. The port is a very close-knit family," Steve Cernak, Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director, told The Herald Tribune.

'They're Hurt Bad. Really Bad.'

The moveable bridge allows cruise ship passengers to disembark from berths at the port. No passengers were on the bridge at the time of the accident.

The accident happened at Terminal 1, just short of the Intercoastal's barrier wall, the Sheriff's Office said. However, some media reports and the initial 911 call erroneously reported the location as Terminal, or Berth, 2.

A bystander who called 911 could be heard telling the operator, "It's Berth 2, on the waterside. They were on the manlift working on the jetty for the cruiseship, and the manlift fell over. There's three of them, and they're hurt bad. Really bad."

"It just fell over," the caller said. "They were on the platform working, and it fell over. His head is crushed real bad. I don't think he's going to make it."

Investigators said the top platform had been extended just over 40 feet in the air at the time of the accident. Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Keyla Concepción did not have information on the manufacturer or supplier of the lift.

Port Everglades
Broward County Port Everglades Department

Port Everglades, a major cargo port and one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, is currently undergoing $500 million in renovations.

Investigation Underway

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is not investigating the accident, authorities said.

OSHA covers private-sector employees and employers through either federal OSHA or an OSHA-approved state run program. State and local government workers are not covered by federal OSHA, but have Occupational Safety and Health Act protection if they work in a state with an OSHA-approved state program.

Florida does not have an OSHA-approved state plan.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told The Sun-Sentinel that detectives would be looking for cameras and other evidence during the investigation.

aerial lift deaths

A passerby who called 911 said the lift at the port "just toppled over." OSHA and local authorities are investigating the accident, which killed two workers.

About 26 construction workers die each year from using aerial lifts, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). Half of these deaths involve scissor lifts, and most are caused by electrocutions, falls, and tipovers.

$500M in Port Improvement

Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, one of the most active cargo ports in the U.S., and a leading container port in Florida, according to its website.

The port was the site of another accident earlier this month. A 91-foot barge stacked with cargo containers was offloaded March 6 after it accidentally dumped 22 containers at sea.

Port Everglades is undergoing improvement projects to increase cargo business by adding five new berths, deepening its navigational channels, and bringing intermodal freight rail on to port property. The improvements, which are expected to be completed by 2017, total more than $500 million.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Fatalities; Health & Safety; lift; Maintenance programs; OSHA; Scaffolding; Work platform

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