Defective Construction Equipment
The construction industry contributes to a high number of workplace accidents every year. In fact, the fatality rate for workers killed in construction accidents is the third highest among all accidents that occur in the workplace. Although employer negligence is a prime factor in many of these accidents, defective construction equipment also plays a big role. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for the design and manufacturing of various types of equipment used in the workplace. These include regulations for the safe design of cranes, forklifts and scaffolding, as well as design safety standards for power tools, machinery, ladders and other equipment.
When you work with a product liability attorney at Arnold & Itkin LLP to handle a lawsuit that is related to defective construction equipment, you can rest assured that our experience will work to your advantage. We understand how OSHA regulations may affect one's ability to seek and recover compensation for injury caused by a defective piece of construction equipment and apply our legal knowledge to seek maximum compensation on each client's behalf.
Our firm has successfully recovered billions of dollars for the injured. We are here to fight for you. Call our offices to learn more about our services, experience and case results.
Crane accidents are one of the most common workplace accidents on a construction site. Many are caused by malfunctioning or missing components in cranes, hoists, and rigging devices. Even experienced crane operators can fall victim to serious accidents as a result of defective parts. The Crane Manufacturers Association of America sets standards for the designs of cranes and hoists. In addition, crane manufacturers must comply with the design standards of the ASME/ANSI, which specify safety regulations for commercial cranes and hoists.
These regulations include the following standards:
- Safety latches must be provided for all crane and hoist hooks.
- An electrical disconnect switch must be provided for all cranes and hoists
- The electrical disconnect switch must be located in a labeled box with lock mechanisms in place.
- An electrical disconnect switch must be provided for all crane pendants.
- All hoist and hook blocks must carry labeling that signifies the maximum capacity of the hook.
- Cabs and bridge cranes must have motion alarms installed.
- Cranes and hoist hooks must not be repainted.
- The bridge underside must carry signs indicating NWSE directions.
- Building cranes and hoists must come with a slip clutch or an upper limit switch.
- New cranes and hoists must undergo load testing to a capacity of 125% before they are put into operation.
- If the crane or hoist comes with an overload device, separate load testing must be done to the required setting.
- Any platforms or baskets suspended from the crane must be designed according to specifications.
In addition to meeting the design and manufacturing standards of cranes and hoists, it is also important to ensure that all rigging equipment and components meet quality standards:
- Nylon slings that have damaged stitching or fibers or are worn out or discolored must never be used.
- Wire rope slings should be free of cracks, broken wires, and twisted hooks.
- All steel slings must be free of cracks. Shackles, slings, and hooks cannot have fractures or signs of welding.
Forklifts are used on virtually all construction sites and allow workers to move heavy loads from one spot to another with little physical effort. These machines are responsible for reducing the incidents of many neck and back injuries caused by heavy lifting. However, defective forklifts have also contributed to a large number of accidents.
Many forklift accidents can be attributed to a lack of proper training, carelessness, or negligence. However, a forklift is a large, complex machine that uses sophisticated principals of physics to transport loads; therefore, any defect in design or manufacturing can cause serious consequences the operator may not be prepared for or trained to handle.
For a forklift to be used safely and effectively it must include the following safety features:
- The forklift must have an overhead guard that prevents a load or an object from toppling over on the operator.
- The overhead guard must be wide enough to protect the operator.
- The overhead guard must not interfere with the operator's maneuverability or sight.
- Backrest extensions must be large enough to protect the operator from any load load falling on him/her.
- All manufacturers are mandated to install operator restraint systems in new forklifts.
Forklift manufacturers are also required to install new safety mechanisms on their machines as they are developed.
Dangerous and defective scaffolding can lead to catastrophic injuries that may affect a worker for the rest of his or her life. Recovering monetary compensation can make all the difference in that worker's ability to begin rebuilding and moving on. The term "scaffolding" refers to a temporary structure used to support workers during construction processes. A scaffold is a network of planks and frames connected by various types of couplers and bolts.
- A single pole scaffold is made of a single row and is placed against the structure for support.
- A birdcage scaffold is made of two or more rows of vertical poles connected by transoms and ledgers.
- A suspended scaffold has a suspended framework.
- A cantilever scaffold is one that is supported at only one end.
OSHA enforces a detailed set of standards for the construction and installation of scaffolding. Manufacturers and construction site employers are required to follow these regulations to protect workers from scaffolding related accidents. Often, however, manufacturers and employers fail to adhere to OSHA's strict standards, resulting in serious accidents. OSHA's standards for scaffolding include provisions for size, design and stability of guardrails, footings, platforms and protection systems as well as detailed provisions for erecting and dismantling the scaffolding.
Here are some of the provisions that affirm a scaffold's stability and safety:
- Workers positioned above 10 feet from a lower level must be equipped with a personal fall protection system.
- Scaffold footings must be even and strong enough to support the scaffold.
- Mid rails must be positioned halfway between the platform and top rail.
- The scaffold platform must be completely decked or planked.
- Scaffolds must be protected from tipping dangers during the use of guying ties.
- The height of top rails must be between 38 inches and 45 inches.
- Installation of a scaffold must be done by trained employees.
- A designated employee must conduct a thorough inspection of the scaffold before beginning the day's shift.
- The erection and dismantling processes must be supervised by a competent person.
- Ropes and wires used in scaffolding must be sturdy, strong, and free of wear and tear.
Working with a Product Liability Lawyer
While employers are required to maintain and inspect construction equipment regularly, manufacturers are also mandated to ensure the equipment is strong enough to support loads and includes all necessary safety mechanisms to prevent accidents. Take this opportunity to find out more about defective construction equipment and your legal rights if this has caused injury to you or a loved one. Your initial consultation with an attorney is free, and you pay nothing for our legal services unless we negotiate a settlement or win a jury award on your behalf.
Injured by defective construction equipment? Contact a product liability lawyer at our law office!