- An Illinois jury has awarded $5.9 million to a worker hired to remove a chimney who was seriously injured in 2015 when he fell 20 to 25 feet from the bucket of an aerial lift truck as the result of an equipment malfunction, according to a blog post by Pfaff, Gill & Ports, Ltd., the law firm representing the worker. Jeremy Heckelsmiller, the worker, sued both the owner and operator of the lift and the owner of the rental property who had arranged for the work to be done.
- Heckelsmiller claimed that the owner and operator of the lift failed to provide a safe lift on the jobsite and failed to get the lift inspected as required by industry standards and the owner's manual. The owner said the crack that led to the boom's malfunction was covered in insulation by the boom's prior owner and would not have been revealed through an inspection. Heckelsmiller also alleged that the property owner failed to provide a safe jobsite as required by industry standards. The property owner said he had no liability because both Heckelsmiller and the owner of the lift were independent contractors and that the removal of the chimney was being done as an unpaid favor.
- The jury found the owner of the lift and the owner of the rental property equally liable. The verdict includes $500,000 for disfigurement, $1.5 million for loss of normal life, $3 million for pain and suffering, and nearly $1 million for medical bills. Due to his injuries, Heckelsmiller has not yet been able to return to work.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides numerous resources to help employers keep their workers safe, including an on-site consultation program that provides free and confidential compliance assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses. OSHA says the consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.
Additionally, the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers offer courses for workers, employers, and managers on hazard recognition and abatement at locations nationwide.
Trey Trimble, former CTO at Transportation Safety Apparel, previously told HR Dive that developing a workplace safety program involves more than providing safety training, materials and equipment to employees, and that cultivating a culture of workplace safety is essential to achieving a "zero incident workplace."