Scissor lifts are a regular sight at construction sites and in warehouse, retail and manufacturing operations. Like all machinery, their purpose is to provide speed and convenience to workplace processes. It is effectively a motorized scaffolding that gives considerable flexibility to persons who need to work at heights and quickly move from one place to another.
Nevertheless, scissor lifts do pose a major hazard in the event of an accident. The lifts can be raised dozens of feet in the air and a fall is equivalent to falling from a multistory building. Hundreds of Americans are killed or injured each year due to scissor lift accidents.
Certain job roles are at higher risk of scissor lift accident. These include carpenters, painters, electricians as well as persons working in utilities, telecommunication, construction, manufacturing, retail, warehousing and entertainment. Workers have been electrocuted by overhead power lines or crushed to death when the lift tipped over after its wheel was caught in a depression.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most deaths or injuries from scissor lift accidents are a result of poor positioning, lack of stabilization or the absence of fall protection. The worksite must therefore be assessed for all potential hazards before the scissor lift is deployed. Equipment operation must be restricted to trained workers only.
Employers must ensure the lift platform has guardrails, that workers stand on the platform itself and never on the guardrails and that the lift is positioned close to the workspace to discourage workers from leaning. Best practice dictates that scissor lifts operate in clear, isolated surroundings to minimize the risk of another vehicle or equipment colliding with it.
The place the lift is positioned must be level, firm and free of debris, bumps, slopes and holes. Never use scissor lifts outdoors when there is rain or strong wind. Lift operators must be in close contact with ground guides especially when operating in areas that are not completely clear or level.
The weight of persons and objects on the platform must never exceed the manufacturer’s specification. The platform should be raised using the lift’s own mechanism; if that fails, contact a certified person to repair it as opposed to using an external force such as a forklift to raise it.
Situational awareness is especially critical when working with scissor lifts near power lines. Remember that the lift or worker does not have to come into actual contact with the power line for electrocution to occur. Like lightning, high voltage electricity can jump across when the gap is small enough (a phenomenon known as a flash over).
Even for those who survive, the fall from a scissor lift can cause serious injury and permanent disability. Many are unable to get a job or earn as much income as they did before the incident. If you have been injured at work while using a scissor lift, it is important that you get in touch with an experience Jacksonville workers’ compensation attorney for guidance on how you can be paid your benefits by the insurance company.
Some scissor lift injuries may not be apparent at the time of the accident but could contribute to your medical costs and inability to work in future. To avoid drowning in financial distress, these costs must be factored into the claim.
Accidents may be due to poor maintenance of the lift or a manufacturing defect. A thorough investigation of the incident is fundamental. If the evidence points in the manufacturer’s direction, you may want to seek compensation from the scissor lift maker. Due to the threat to their bottom line and the potential for an avalanche of claims, manufacturers will deploy a robust defense. You need a Jacksonville workers’ compensation lawyer who is accustomed to fighting and winning cases against large organizations. Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, P.A. is the place to go.
Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, P.A. Experience Jacksonville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, P.A. has successfully represented a diverse range of Jacksonville clients on workplace injury compensation and are in an ideal position to serve you. When you file for workers’ compensation, it is crucial that you cover all your bases from the start.