According to a report published by the CDC and the Center for Construction Research and Training, and average of 26 construction workers died annual due to aerial lift accidents.
The leading causes of these deaths are electrocution, falls, and collapses/tip over. Reports indicate that the highest number of aerial lift deaths were of electricians, followed by construction workers, electrical power installers, painters, and carpenters. Boom lifts accounted for over 70% of these fatalities.
You can read the full report here, along with recommendations for making this operational procedure safer. One of the overall consensuses, however, was the employees need to be fully trained when making lifts or operating cranes and hoists that lift other people. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), qualified professionals are required to train aerial lift workers on all aspects of the lift, but in many causes, this is not documented or simply doesn’t happen. Without proper education, aerial lifts can be quite dangerous.
OSHA publishes a number of regulation documents to help workers stay safe. They actually have a specific document regulating aerial lifts, which can be found here. These mandates, which covered general requirements for construction workers, specify that an aerial lift is any vehicle-mounted device used to elevate a person, and these devices include extensible boom platforms, aerial ladders, articulating boom platforms, and vertical towers. In addition, you can check out the related manlift regulations documents online here. This document covers platforms or brackets that operate vertically and are run with a pulley system.
Going beyond the minimum requirements, OSHA, along with the Hazard Exposure and Risk Assessment Matrix for Hurricane Response and Recover Work, has published this separate document, which covers general recommendations for staying safe during aerial lifts. These recommendations include a list of personal protective equipment one should wear, even if not mandated, key controls tips for the person operating the crane or hoist, how to prevent falls, how to avoid contact or safely contact power lines or other utility lines, and general work zone safety.
In addition to the training you can receive from an employer, a number of school offer advanced certification to make aerial lifts even safer. You can see examples of such classes from Harvard University (here), Virginia Tech (here), and Rutgers (here), but no matter where you live, you should be able to find a class near you through your employer. Aerial lifts, no matter how well trained you may be, can always be dangerous, but education on the topic does help. If you have been injured in a crane accident contact a crane accident lawyer today.
Remember, when someone on a worksite is dealing with an aerial lift, every employee should be alert and prepared to help in the event of an emergency. It is not just the person being lifted that needs proper training, especially when you consider the duties of the workers running the crane or hoist that is doing the lifting. Through good employee training programs, employers can ensure that everyone on the job stays safe, even when performing dangerous tasks.