Construction work is dangerous, but proper safety measures can help prevent deaths and lessen injuries during a workplace accident. In one recent New York construction accident, safety harnesses may have saved the lives or reduced the injuries of two construction workers
The workers were in the bucket of a cherry picker, an elevated work platform also known as a boom lift. While they were elevated, a mechanical failure caused the rig to fall on its side, sending the workers to the ground. The workers were wearing harnesses, which prevented them from being ejected from the basket and likely lessened their injuries. Also benefiting the workers, the basket with the workers landed in a mound of dirt, which lessened the impact as the basket hit the ground.
Despite the two factors in their favor, the men still received broken bones and other serious injuries. One was trapped in the basket, forcing emergency responders to cut through steel to rescue him. A fire department official says rescuers stabilized the truck with a backhoe at each end because they did not want the machinery to catapult up after the man was removed from the basket.
Workers then used tow trucks to get the truck back upright and haul it off site. City inspectors and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration workers were investigating.
In construction accidents like these, construction workers may generally not sue their direct employers for damages. Others who contribute to accidents could be held liable, however. Contractors and subcontractors, manufacturers or other parties could be held accountable through third-party claims.
Source: ABC 7, “2 hurt when cherry picker overturns in Brooklyn,” Matt Kozar, May 6, 2013