SA eyes scissor lift regulation

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  • Earthmovers & Excavators

The death of a construction worker in Adelaide has prompted the coroner’s court of South Australia to recommend that people on scissor lifts should be monitored at all times by a ‘spotter’ below


The coroner’s court of South Australia made a series of recommendations that, if legislated, may help prevent incident similar to that of the workplace death of 54 year old Jorge Alberto Castillo-Riffo.

On November 27, 2014 Castillo-Riffo went to work at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital construction site where he had been employed in the construction work for the building of the new hospital.

Castillo-Riffo had been using a scissor lift for the task of patching holes on the edge of the concrete slab of the third floor of the building.

A workmate entered the area where he knew Castillo-Riffo to be working and noticed a scissor lift that the deceased had been using, was in an elevated position towards the underside of the third floor slab.

He looked up and observed Castillo-Riffo slumped over the top bar of the platform fence of the scissor lift.  On closer inspection, he observed Castillo-Riffo’s to be deceased.


Scissor lift recommendations include:

  • Scissor lifts not be operated unless there is a person on the ground operating as a spotter who is available at all times to take steps to activate the emergency lowering mechanism; until the implementation of a system of effective standardisation of scissor lift control configuration across Australia.

  • The Elevating Work Platforms document dated September 2016 should be distributed on an annual basis electronically and in hard copy to all relevant building industry participants in South Australia. In addition, electronic links to the information sheet should be displayed permanently on SafeWork SA’s webpage and be kept current. The associated minimum standard of training document should be brought into line to include references to clear lines of sight.

  • The question of standardising scissor lift controls be given far greater impetus at a State and National level and that it be elevated to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for the commissioning of a project to pursue the standardisation of controls in scissor lifts.


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