Unfortunately in the construction industry, production for the employer is sometimes taken more seriously than employee safety. Aerial lift accidents involving bucket trucks, cherry pickers, scissor lifts, man lifts, boom lifts and crane are one of the leading causes of death and injury on large construction sites. Falls, tip-overs, and collapses, along with electrocutions cause hundreds of these aerial lift injuries and deaths each year across the country.
Aerial lifts are used frequently in the construction industry for a variety of applications. Some operators are trained and own their equipment; others are construction companies renting an aerial lift for a shorter term. Aerial lift rental companies are not without fault for not providing proper training on how to safely use the aerial lift, failing to include safety DVD’s and instructions or failing to require training in aerial lift safety before the rental occurs.
When an aerial lift accident does occur, it often results in serious or deadly injuries. Consumers are also purchasers and users of aerial lifts. With little to no training, many people do not realized the serious dangers of operating an aerial lift. Combined with a lack of inspection and negligent maintenance on the employer, rental company or manufacturer’s part, the risk of serious injuries and death rise immensely.
Aerial and boom lift accidents causing death generally include electrocutions, falls, collapses and tip overs, and being caught in between or struck by another object. Boom lifts account for around 70% of aerial lift death cases. Aerial lift accidents from the boom lifts include workers being ejected from the bucket after being struck by another object while not wearing a harness to prevent falling. Other aerial lift accidents result when the aerial lift, scissor lift, man lift, cherry picker, or boom lift collapses and trips over. This can occur due to mechanical failure with the lift or overloading the aerial lift.
Failure by the lift is also a common cause of aerial lift accidents that result in death. When the brakes, outriggers, wheel chocks and locks on an aerial lift fail, the result can be a tip-over, or an immediate collapse of the lift which will send the operator falling upwards of 20 feet. Behind electrocutions, falls from tip overs are the number one cause of aerial lift accidents. Undecking is another common cause of aerial lift accidents. Undecking occurs when the bolts fastening the turret wear out, are defective, break and fail resulting in a collapse of the entire aerial lift. Often times, ejections occur and the construction worker suffers severe injuries or death.
Insulated aerial lifts, often called cherry pickers, bucket lifts or bucket truck lifts are often used in the electrical, cable, utility and construction industries. They are often used by these industries to perform work on or near high-voltage power lines. It allows the linemen or utility worker to reach the lines and it is supposed to protect the worker in case of contact with the line.
Despite their intended purpose, there is a design defect in many of these aerial lifts that occurs when there is an inadvertent boom tip contact. This occurs when a metal portion of the lift makes contact with the high voltage wire and the worker in the aerial lift becomes the ground. The result of these aerial lift electrocutions is often loss of limbs and death.
Today, economically and technologically available insulated control handles and boom tip covers are available to all employers and manufacturers. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of aerial lifts are still being rented and used without these available protective devices that reduce the risk of electrocutions.
The need to preserve evidence for litigation following an aerial lift accident is critical. Many users fail to immediately report their accident to insurance companies and the rental companies or manufacturers replace and remove the defective aerial lift which makes gathering evidence for a case difficult. In many cases, mistakes by the rental company or owner result in the defective lift being put back into service before it has been inspected, repaired, or used for evidence!
If you or your loved ones have suffered a severe and debilitating injury caused in an aerial lift accident, the Willis Law Firm is here to help you get the compensation you may be entitled to. Often an aerial lift accident lawsuit must be immediately filed to protect the critical evidence needed to prove the defect and win the lawsuit and damages for the clients. Call for a free case evaluation. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with over 30+ years of accident and injury lawsuit experience.
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