As the holiday season quickly approaches, families, businesses and municipalities have all begun to decorate and prepare for the holidays.
For many cities, decorative lights and wreaths are often hung from street lamp posts. Philadelphia is no exception. This year, warm holiday lights in the shape of snowflakes, horses, gazebos and Christmas trees are hung from the street lamp posts.
When municipal workers are hanging the decorations and lights on the lamp posts, an aerial lift is often used. An aerial lift is a vehicle-mounted, boom-supported aerial platform, such as a cherry picker or bucket truck, used to lift the worker above ground to conduct work. Other common uses for aerial lifts are performing work on utility lines and trimming trees or shrubs.
Safety practices must be complied with when using aerial lifts. Workers are killed and seriously injured each year while working on aerial lifts. A common cause of accidents and injuries is workers falling from the aerial lift.
OSHA provides standards and regulations that employers and workers need to recognize and comply with in order to prevent falls from aerial lifts. One of the things that workers need to do is make sure that a harness or a fall protection system is used.
Section 1926.453(b)(2)(v) provides:
A body belt shall be worn and a lanyard attached to the boom or basket when working from an aerial lift.
Section 1926.453(b)(2)(iii) also provides:
Belting off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from an aerial lift shall not be permitted.
There are two types of safety/fall protection systems that workers can use while working from aerial lifts: restraint systems and fall arrest systems.
A restraint system consists of a body belt or harness, lanyard and anchor. It prevents workers from falling. A restraint system is the preferred fall protection since the restraint system keeps workers from falling any distance at all.
On the other hand, a fall arrest system exposes workers to a fall, but stops the fall within specified parameters. A fall arrest system is composed of a harness, lanyard and an anchor.
If workers fall from aerial lifts due to lack of fall protection, they may be entitled to compensation. Injured workers may have a worker’s compensation claim. In addition, there may be other parties liable for the fall accident. If the harness was defective, injured workers may have a claim against the harness manufacturer. Injured workers may even have a claim against the employer in very limited situations. See Can You Sue Your Employer In PA For A Workplace Injury?
If you or a family member was injured because a fall protection system was either not used or was not safely used, contact the fall accident lawyers at White and Williams to schedule an initial free consultation. 877.944.8396