Can Boom Lift Accidents Be Prevented?

Construction worker on boom lift.
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Severe injuries and even death are possible in the case of boom lift accidents. Jobs in construction are dangerous. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction and extraction jobs were second in the nation for occupational deaths in 2021.

In Texas alone that year, there were 50 fatalities from “falls, slips, and trips” and 18 due to “contact with objects and equipment” in the construction industry. However, being aware of the risks and taking steps to prevent them might save your life in a boom or aerial lift accident.

Of course, boom lift accidents will still happen, and knowing what steps to take afterward is essential, especially since Texas laws do not favor workers. If you are injured or a loved one was hurt or died in an aerial lift accident, you may want to explore your legal options for compensation.

Patrick Daniel Law will fight for justice. Call our experienced Houston construction accident lawyer at (713) 999-6666 today for a FREE consultation.

Construction Is a Dangerous Profession

The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide workers with a “safe and healthful workplace that is free from serious recognized hazards.” However, by its very nature, construction is more dangerous than your average profession, and sometimes the bosses are more worried about the bottom line than the safety of their employees.

In 2021, “despite experiencing a 2.6-percent decrease in fatalities from 2020,” there were still 951 occupational fatalities in the construction and extraction industry, per BLS. That is 12.3 lost lives for every 100,000 workers.

Even one life lost is too many if there were safety precautions that could have saved them. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a boom lift accident, contact an aerial lift accident lawyer.

Read More: What Are the Causes of Aerial Lift Accidents?

Safety Tips to Avoid Boom Lift Accidents

Between January and July of 2022, there were 20 boom-related accidents reported to OSHA. Of those, 17 resulted in death. When working at great heights and with heavy machinery, every safety precaution must be taken to prevent injury and loss of life.

Below are 8 safety tips that may save you from grave harm while working with a boom lift:

1. Ensure Proper Training of Lift Operators

Safety begins with proper training. Employees must receive the relevant safety certifications and instruction on operations and safety protocols. Additionally, employees should be tested on their operational knowledge before operating a boom lift.

2. Check for Adequate Fall Protection

Worn or ill-fitting safety gear, lack of fall protection, and inadequate training on fall protection systems are three common OSHA violations; fall protection, in general, is the most frequently cited standard.

Working at heights requires you to take extra precautions to avoid falls. These include using the appropriate safety equipment, ensuring the equipment is in good condition, and training workers on how to use said equipment properly.

OSHA requires that personal fall restraint systems (harnesses) are used when working from a boom lift. Ensure that your harnesses are in good working order before your ascent.

If you are injured and you suspect fall protection standards were not met, call a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that the incident is investigated thoroughly.

3. Keep the Base & Circumference of the Boom Lift Clear

When working from a boom lift, things can drop from the platform, injuring workers underneath. In addition, there are occasions when a lift may tip over due to inclement weather or poorly distributed weight. Keep the base and circumference clear while the boom lift is in use.

4. Always Adhere to the Weight Limit

It is important to always account for the weight of the operator, tools, and materials being lifted. If the lift becomes top-heavy or the weight isn’t distributed well, it could tip over, injuring workers above and below. Never use the boom lift to hoist heavy objects—that is not what it is for. Overloading the boom lift can cause the machinery to fail with harmful results.

5. Never Work on the Edges of the Platform

Avoid working from the edge of the platform, as it can lead to a fall. Though it may take an extra moment, moving the platform to where it is needed will ensure a safer position. Sitting, standing, or climbing the edges can also make the boom platform unbalanced.

6. Avoid Operating the Boom Lift in Adverse Weather

A strong gust of wind can knock an operator off-balance or even tip the lift over completely. Do not operate if the weather conditions are not conducive to safety. An experienced, qualified operator should know when to halt operations due to weather. The user manual will also establish the restrictions for use and communicate strategies for safer use in inclement weather.

7. Operate the Boom Lift on Level Ground

Uneven ground can create an unstable base for the boom lift. An unstable base is responsible for many tipping incidents. Ensuring the ground is level keeps the operators and workers, both above and below, safer. Be sure that the boom lift brakes are being utilized properly to stabilize the base.

8. Conduct Proper Maintenance

A boom lift malfunction could result from faulty manufacturing. However, manufacturer defects may be spotted and some mechanical failures may be avoided with proper maintenance. Having hands and eyes on the boom lift regularly can help to spot a problem before it becomes the cause of a deadly accident.

When all of these precautions are taken, there are fewer boom lift accidents. However, accidents are bound to happen, whether they result from negligence on the part of the company you work for, another employee, or simply because of factors outside of anyone’s control. If they do and you or a loved one is injured, the help of an experienced aerial lift attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Read More: Who Is Liable for Aerial Lift Accidents?

What To Do If You Are Injured in a Boom Lift Accident

Some boom lift accidents can’t be avoided. Additionally, your company may be cutting corners, or your coworkers may not have the same safety vigilance you do.

If you are injured in a boom lift accident, you may have the option to collect workers’ compensation benefits. However, employers can opt out of the workers’ compensation system in Texas. If your employer is a non-subscriber, you have the right to sue them for injuries sustained on the job.

You may be entitled to the following damages if you have suffered an injury in a boom lift accident:

  • Medical expenses (current & future)
  • Loss of income (current & future)
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Travel costs (to & from medical care appointments)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring & disfigurement
  • Permanent injury & disability
  • Loss of consortium

If you are the surviving spouse, child, or parent of someone who lost their life due to a boom lift accident, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation death benefits. However, you may need to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party if their employer was a non-subscriber.

You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Funeral & burial/cremation expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of financial contributions
  • Loss of support and services
  • Pain & suffering
  • And more

To find out if you are entitled to compensation for your losses, you need to contact a skilled and devoted attorney. They can evaluate your claim and help you through the process, allowing you to spend your time healing.

Contact a Houston Aerial Lift Accident Lawyer Today

Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies can’t be trusted to look out for anything other than their own best interests. Patrick Daniel Law is devoted to helping construction workers in Houston and Texas find the compensation they deserve for the injuries they’ve sustained on the job.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation. We can help you pursue all available options for obtaining compensation. While we handle the complexities of the law, you can take the time you need to recover.

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