Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Scissor-lift leads to worker fatality

Equipment used in construction can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Last month, for example, a worker in an extended scissor lift was killed and two others suffered serious workplace injuries in a construction accident in Irving. A scissor lift is a platform that usually moves vertically by using linked and collapsible supports that are placed in a crisscross or scissor pattern. These are typically used on construction sites to reach very high areas.

The accident involved a collision between two ladders, according to an Irving Police Dept. spokesperson. Workers fell approximately 30 feet. One of the workers was in critical condition. The workers were employed by a specialty contractor performing construction work at a Frito-Lay North American facility. The Occupational and Industrial Safety Administration is conducting an accident investigation.

Concerns have been raised about the stability of extended scissor lifts. There have been, on average, 26 worker fatalities each year involving works using all types of aerial lifts. Third parties such as dealers and manufacturers have faced liability lawsuits after most accidents. Regulators cite uneven ground, overloading and unintended contact with controls as the hazards associated with using this device. A scissor lift operator working on construction of a high rise building in Oklahoma City died after falling from the building in 2016.

These accidents have occurred despite the standards that govern their use. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers and other organizations have published best practices for this devices. Aerial lift rentals are accompanied with an operator's manual, an ANSI manual, an AEM safety manual and, typically, lift rules that are site-specific.

Victims of a construction or workplace accident may be entitled to compensation. When workers' compensation is insufficient, an attorney can help them in a personal injury lawsuit against negligent or reckless parties.

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