An aerial lift is used on construction job sites to lift workers in California and throughout the United States, enabling them to perform key tasks. Because of how easy it is to move them from one place to next, aerial lifts have become as common as scaffolding and ladders at many work locations.
They aren't without risks, though. In fact, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), updated in 2019, said that between 2011 and 2014, 87 workers died from injuries suffered while operating an aerial lift or scissor lift. In the same time period, 1,380 people were injured.
Workers can be injured while using an aerial lift in many ways. They include falls from heights, entanglement, electric shock, contact with objects and collapse of the lift. Objects that fall from the lifts also could injure workers on the ground.
Companies that use aerial lifts must make sure that only workers who have been trained properly are allowed to operate the lifts. Training should be extensive and include instruction on the correct operation, how to deal with hazards, how to recognize unsafe conditions on the job and how and when to inspect the machinery.
Workers should be retrained if a new type of aerial lift is put into use or if an accident happens while the lift is used.
It is incumbent upon employers to keep their employees safe in all areas of the job site. Unfortunately, accidents happen that can devastate a worker's future. In such cases, those affected and their families need to know their rights.