Man Lift Accidents

You see man lifts at construction sites, malls, scaling the sides of tall buildings in order to wash the windows. WFSB News reported that a tree worker in Ledyard, Connecticut, sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized when the orange man-lift he was using suddenly tipped over into a family home that was nearby. That man lift was extended to its maximum length before the entire truck it was attached to flipped over.

In Massachusetts, operators of mechanically powered machines that have temporary elevator cars or are used for hoisting building materials are required to obtain a license or temporary permit to operate. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 146, § 53, anyone who will operate derricks, cableways, machinery used for discharging cargoes, and temporary elevator cars used on excavation work or used for hoisting building material, when the motive power to operate such machinery is mechanical and other than steam, including but not limited to excavators, backhoes, front end loaders, uniloaders, skid loader, skid steer loaders, compact loaders or similar devices, lattice cranes, derricks, cranes with or without wire rope; all forklifts, powered industrial lift trucks, overhead hoists (underhung), overhead cranes, underhung cranes, monorail cranes, lifting devices, cableways, and powered platforms, or any other equipment that has the minimum capability of hoisting the load higher than 10 feet, and either the capability of lifting loads greater than 500 pounds or the capacity of the bucket exceeds 1/4 cubic yards must hold a license from the Department of Safety.

To receive a license to operate, a person must take and pass the hoisting operator examination, which tests the operator’s knowledge of the machinery as well as safety practices. To learn more about operating licenses, visit Hoisting License and Operators FAQs. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 146, § 54A, whoever violates § 53, which necessitates licenses for operators, shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) and not more than three thousand dollars ($3000). Under this statute, any person that allows an unlicensed person to operate a hoisting machine shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1000) and not more than three thousand dollars ($3000), or by imprisonment for not more than three (3) months, or both.

According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health, the most common man lift accidents involve tipping over. Causes for this includes operating the lift on an uneven surface, the lack of training by the operator, misapplication of the lift, and the failure to read a manual prior to use.

The use of man lifts has to abide by not only state regulations, but federal regulations as well. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational and Health Administration established standards for the design and use of man lifts in 29 C.F.R. 1910. 29 C.F.R. 1910 provides in relevant part that an aerial lift truck may not be moved when the boom is elevated in a working position with men in the basket; before moving an aerial lift for travel, the boom(s) shall be inspected to see that it is properly cradled and outriggers are in stowed position, and that boom and basket load limits specified by the manufacturer shall not be exceeded.

If you or someone you know was harmed because of a man lift for these reasons or any other reasons through no fault of their own, then please contact the attorneys at Mitcheson & Lee LLP for a free consultation.