Aerial lifts continue to injure construction workers. A common scenario is when a worker is pinned by a lift against an object, either to the side of the lift, or directly above the lift. On May 30, 2015 an aerial lift fatally pinned a 35-year-old Monroeville, Pennsylvania man against the roof of a bridge overpass near Pittsburgh, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazzette.
According to a homicide official from Allegheny County, the individual was operating the lift by himself when he was pinned by the lift against the roof of the bridge overpass.
Safer designs exist to protect construction workers from becoming pinned between lifts and overhead objects. The first such device was introduced by a company known as Nifty Lift in 2009, although the concept dates back even earlier. Since 2009, multiple other lift manufacturers, including JLG, have introduced devices to prevent workers being crushed between an aerial lift’s platform and an overhead or similar object, such as a bridge overpass roof.
The devices operate by sensing if an obstacle is pushing a worker against a control panel. If the device senses this, it shuts down the machine automatically, stopping the machine before it crushes the worker. Shutting down the machine also prevents accidental motion of the lift from the worker’s weight on the controls.
Aerial lifts needlessly endanger workers when they do not include this necessary safety device, according to Attorney Peter M. Patton. The technology for such devices has literally been on the market since 2009, but incorporates basic safety devices that date back to the 1940’s.
Construction firms bear responsibility for these incidents when they fail to require that aerial lifts be outfitted with such devices on any projects the construction companies handle.
For more information about aerial lift safety or to discuss aerial lift accidents, please call the experienced work injury lawyers in Philadelphia at Galfand Berger. Contact our firm online or call 1-800-222-USWA (8792) today.