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Workers' compensation: Why are scissor lifts so dangerous?

Scissor lifts are used in construction, manufacturing, entertainment, retail, warehousing and other industries in New Hampshire and elsewhere. While it offers a safe platform for workers to perform tasks at heights or to move heavy materials, a scissor lift can be a deadly piece of equipment if it is not used in strict compliance with the instructions of the manufacturer. Furthermore, company owners have to follow federal safety regulations to prevent workers' injuries that can lead to workers' compensation claims.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 10 lives were lost over a 12-month period in workplace accidents involving scissor lifts, and 20 others suffered serious injuries in such incidents. Upon investigation, it was found that the majority of these accidents were preventable. Inspectors determined that hazards that went unaddressed by business owners included inadequate fall protection, the stability of the scissor lift and the proper positioning of it.

While only trained personnel must be allowed to operate the machines, all other workers must be aware of the potential dangers and be trained in safe movement in areas where equipment such as scissor lifts are being operated. Proper materials handling training is required, including compliance with weight limits. Other hazards include platforms without guardrails and workers leaning away from the platform to reach work areas. Positioning scissor lifts on uneven surfaces or in the vicinity of overhead power lines can add to the life-threatening hazards posed by these devices.

New Hampshire workers who have suffered serious workplace injuries -- or the surviving family members of workers who were killed in on-the-job accidents -- may find comfort in knowing that they may pursue financial relief through the workers' compensation system. Injury benefits claims typically cover medical expenses and lost income, while death benefits provide compensation for end-of-life expenses and lost wages. Many families choose to retain the services of experienced workers' compensation attorneys to pursue fair compensation for them.

Source: mhlnews.com, "Scissor Lift Accidents Spur OSHA to Issue Hazard Warning", David Sparkman, March 28, 2016

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