Construction sites that use personnel baskets to lift workers off the ground to reach a job must follow strict state and federal safety regulations. If these rules are ignored, and a worker falls, the construction company or general contractor could be liable for the injured worker’s damages.
Under New York Labor Law 240, known as the scaffold or gravity law, falls on construction sites can be grounds for a lawsuit against managers and employers. If you were injured in an aerial basket accident, contact our New York construction injury lawyers to learn about your rights.
New York State Rules Regarding Aerial Baskets on Worksites
Work platforms that are lifted to high workplaces by forklifts or other vehicles are known by multiple names: man baskets, safety cages, personnel baskets, and forklift cages, to name a few. New York State calls them aerial baskets in their code book, and they have strict regulations regarding their use on a worksite. Those rules include the following.
Mandatory Daily Inspections
The operator of an aerial basket is required to inspect equipment daily. Their inspection must include checks of the following components:
- All attachment welds between the actuating cylinders and the pedestal
- All pivot pins on locking devices
- All exposed ropes, sheaves, and leveling devices
- Hydraulic systems
- Boom and basket
- Lubrication and fluid levels
The operator is also required to test the operation of the basket through one complete lifting cycle before anyone enters the basket. Additionally, the operator of the forklift must test their brakes and other operating accessories. Any defects or malfunctions that are found must be corrected before using the aerial basket. Operators are required to keep records of their inspections on the job site at all times.
Required Safeguards for Controls
If the controls in the aerial basket could come into contact with obstructions that would make them inoperable, they must be guarded or protected from hindrance. Controls at ground level must be capable of overriding the controls in the basket.
Operation of the Forklift or Truck
Only personnel trained in the operation of the vehicle that supports the aerial basket are permitted to drive it. The instrument panel in the vehicle must be equipped with an automatic warning device that alerts the driver when the basket is raised. Driving the forklift or truck while a person is in the elevated basket is not permitted.
Safe Truck Placement
Safe placement of the supporting vehicle is essential to the safety of the person in the aerial basket. The following guidelines for placement of the truck or forklift must be followed. The vehicle must be:
- On solid ground
- Not leaning sideways
- Guided into place by a person stationed on the ground
- Inspected for position and stability
- Cleared of obstructions and people before the lift is operated
Aerial Basket Operation
Personnel basket operators are required by both state and federal law to be trained and certified before using the equipment. As trained operators, they should:
- Have access to information about the boom angle, safe load amount, boom height, horizontal reach distance, and more at all times.
- Always face in the direction in which the basket is moving
- Only operate the basket near power lines under conditions allowed by law
- Only allow personnel to enter or leave the basket when it is resting on the ground or locked in the traveling position
- Not allow others to enter the space beneath an elevated basket unless they are required to be there by the person in the basket
- Not allow tools or materials to be thrown out of or into the elevated basket
- Require tools to be secured in trays or belts when not in use in the basket
- Prevent people from standing on the rim of the basket or placing boards or ladders in the basket
- Allow only the person in the basket to lower the boom, except in emergency situations or by request
This is just an overview of New York State rules regarding the safe use of aerial baskets. Workers using such equipment should be adequately trained by their employer.
Violation of Safety Rules Could Cause a Serious Accident
As a construction worker in New York, you are protected by Labor Law 240 if you have been injured in an accident involving heights, including a fall from an aerial personnel basket. If you have suffered a serious injury in a fall, our construction accident lawyers can determine if you have a claim under this unique law to obtain full and fair compensation for your losses.