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Workplace injuries involving aerial lifts are preventable

Workers in the construction industry in San Diego face an endless list of hazards. Many of the dangers are known and addressed in the safety regulations prescribed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. A significant number of workplace injuries -- some of which are fatal -- involve aerial lifts that come into contact with overhead power cables, tip-overs, falls, and instances in which workers are caught between the lift's guardrail or bucket and another object.

These incidents can be prevented by taking precautionary steps that start with training. Only certified operators must be allowed behind the controls of aerial lifts. Before every shift, the operator must carry out a thorough inspection to ensure all emergency and operating controls are in perfect order. He or she must always be equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment, which must also be inspected to ensure they are free of defects.

Before proceeding with any project, the surface on which the machine will move must be level and stable. Further inspections include the positions of other hazards such as overhead power cables, holes, drop-offs and obstructions. Wheel chocks, outriggers and brakes must be used -- even on level surfaces. Prescribed load capacity and speed limits must never be exceeded, and the specified clearance near energized power cables must always be maintained.

Victims of workplace injuries on construction sites in San Diego may find comfort in knowing that the California workers' compensation insurance system will cover their medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. Even if the claims process seems daunting, help is available. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can navigate the claims process to ensure that the injured worker receives the benefits to which he or she is entitled.

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