A recent report regarding the death of a Kansas man after being electrocuted while working in a bucket truck highlights the importance that employers and employees understand proper safety guidelines. According to media reports, the 58-year-old man was working in a bucket truck when he came in contact with a live power line. The power line reportedly was charged with more than 7,000 volts of electricity. The man was taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries. The local Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the accident.
It is common after accidents like this one for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to also investigate the cause of the accident, and whether the employer and employee were using proper safety guidelines. OSHA has strict guidelines for bucket truck safety designed to prevent similar accidents. Bucket trucks are dangerous for several reasons, with the most common accidents caused by a fall, tip-over, collision, electrocution, or improper use.
It is important that anyone working in a bucket truck be mindful of the possible dangers, and how best to avoid injury. Safety website www.buckettrucks.org recommends the following concerning avoiding common injuries:
- Falls – Always keep both feet on the floor of the bucket. Never climb, stand, or lean over the edge. Never place any work item, such as a ladder, in the bucket in order to increase height. Before climbing into the bucket, be sure that there is no debris present. Always wear protection designed to prevent falls.
- Tip-Over – Never pull the bucket toward another object, or push it away from an object while the bucket is raised. Do not place any item in the bucket that exceeds the standard weight capacity of 300 pounds. Always park the truck on level ground, and do not attempt to move the truck with the bucket raised. Do not raise the bucket in windy conditions.
- Collision – Bucket trucks are large and have several blind spots. Be aware of blind spots and pay attention to nearby vehicles. Travel slowly when approaching gravel or uneven ground, hilly or curvy roadways, or sidewalks occupied by pedestrians. Be mindful of overhead obstructions and limitations.
- Electrocution – Always maintain safe distance between the bucket, any tool being used, and power lines. Even protected, insulated platforms are not adequate to protect the individual from electrical current, either phase-to-ground or phase-to-phase contact.
- Improper Use – It is important that the operator of the truck and the individual in the bucket are aware of proper safety guidelines. Never leave the truck unattended or allow untrained persons to operate the truck or bucket. Never leave the engine running while refueling. Never operate the truck or bucket if there is a mechanical defect.
Get Help if You Have Been Injured
If you have been injured in an accident while working in a bucket truck, you need the support of a competent attorney who is skilled in workers’ compensation and personal injury matters including bucket truck safety concerns. Contact Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless now to find out what your rights and options are under our state’s workers’ compensation and personal injury laws. At the law office of Michael R. Lawless, P.A., we bring to every case more than two decades of legal experience. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. You may call our office toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You also have the option of sending us a message online, which will be reviewed and responded to promptly.