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Aerial lifts vehicles and workplace accidents

Aerial lift vehicles are of the most commonly used items at many construction and industrial work sites throughout Maryland. Sometimes called cherry pickers, boom trucks or scissor lifts, the one thing these devices have in common is they are used to elevate workers and equipment high above the ground. Usually, in order to facilitate work or maintenance activities. A variety of construction related jobs such as painting, roofing or commercial sign repair rely on aerial lifts as an efficient, time-saving alternative to using ladders or scaffolding.

Although extremely useful, aerial lifts can be sometimes be dangerous for a variety of reasons. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the use of aerial lifts claims the lives of 26 construction workers each year. Many of these deaths are the result of workers falling out of the bucket or containment areas of these vehicles. Electrocution is also a very real hazard for workers who use aerial lifts. This is because the bucket or boom can sometimes make contact with high-voltage power lines as workers extend the lift.

Tipping over is also a frequent hazard for workers using aerial lifts. As the boom extends, the center of gravity for the lift vehicle can change dramatically and it can become top-heavy. If not careful, a worker could easily tip a lift vehicle while extended by rolling over uneven or soft ground.

The fact of the matter is that you could still be injured while using an aerial lift even if you observe the best safety practices. For example, a rented aerial lift that is improperly maintained could suddenly lose hydraulic pressure and send the boom crashing to the ground.

Another scenario might involve a third-party at your work site who causes you to fall from the bucket after crashing into your aerial lift. Fortunately, Maryland laws allow injured workers to receive medical and wage replacement benefits for accidents that occur on the job. Additionally, you may be entitled to sue someone other than your employer if he or she caused your accident through some form of negligence. An attorney with experience in Maryland's workers' compensation laws can help you pursue the type of compensation most appropriate for your particular circumstances.

Source: Bucket Truck Safety.org, "Bucket Truck Safety," accessed May. 12, 2015

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