I am a certified lift operator, both for scissor lifts and boom lifts. I have well over 4000 hours spent in lifts, including more than 1000 hours operating 120’ boom lifts, both on flat concrete and on open, rough terrain. So forgive me this conceit, but I feel like I know what I’m talking about here, and to me, there is some pertinent information missing from the story linked in the OP, to wit:
Was this kid alone in the lift?
If so, did he have any training in the inspection and safe operation of the equipment?
If not alone, did the other person have said training? From the linked story, it seems he was alone in the lift. Certainly I would have expected to hear that more than one person was injured if more than one person was in the lift.
What type of ground was this lift parked on, and was it level? Were the leveling jacks in use?
What type of lift was this (manufacturer and model)? I don’t know of any scissor lifts that go over 40 feet high that aren’t at least 6’ wide by 8’ long, with a ballast weight of roughly 15,000 to 18,000 pounds. Something like this lift from Genie or this lift from JLG, for instance.
From the picture in the article, I’m going to guess that this was the JLG 4394RT, a 15,000 pound lift with a maximum height of 43’. The yellowish-orange color is their trademark, just like Genie’s is blue. I’ve used this lift many times. The RT stands for “rough terrain”, and this lift is made to be driven on open ground on construction sites. When parked, the RT series lifts have leveling jacks that must be used to ensure stability before raising the platform. My guess is that no one set them in this case.
I have seen lifts go over, more than once, and in each instance it was not the equipment at fault, it was the operator. Too many people get in them and use them with little or no training, and often even those with training have inadequate knowledge about the machinery to do a proper inspection before use. In fact, the vast majority of people the vaster majority of the time, never do an inspection before using a lift.
The outdoor lifts like this one, with air tires, are unsafe at over half their maximum height without the leveling jacks in place. The further up you go when out of plumb, the more you put yourself at risk of toppling over, especially if one side or one wheel is above or below the others. It is essential to be level.
I’m sorry for this kid, who prolly had no idea what he was getting into, and almost certainly had no training on the proper inspection and use of this equipment.