It’s probably no surprise to you that cranes and hoists are major causes of injuries on New Jersey construction sites. However, what you may not know is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has specific rules governing the use of hoists, especially when workers are underground.

Employers Can Prevent Many Hoist Construction Injuries in Tunnels

While the OSHA has provisions for all construction work using cranes and hoists, those used in underground developments must also have a limit switch that prevents the hoist from traveling past the top and bottom of the hoist way. Also, the hoist controls must be readily accessible to the operator so he can reach all controls and the emergency power cutoff without leaving the normal operating position.

Here are a few more safety rules employers must enforce when using cranes and hoists underground:

  • The hoist operator is required to use a closed-circuit voice communication system to communicate with workers both above and below ground.
  • Employees should not ride on top of any lowering cage or bucket, unless they are performing maintenance, at which time they must wear a safety harness.
  • Workers and materials cannot be hoisted at the same time in the same cage.
  • All underground hoists must be designed to automatically apply brakes when the power is cut.
  • The crane or hoist operator must be able to see and hear signals from other workers.
  • All cages must have a protective steel-plate canopy that slopes outward to protect personnel and equipment from falling debris.
  • Cages carrying personnel are required to be enclosed on all sides by 1/2 inch wire mesh that is at least six feet high.

If one of the above was not in effect at the time of your injury, you may be able to hold your employer liable for your medical bills and loss of income. Send us an email to give us the details of your story, or click the link on this page to read through our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer