Deadly Scissor Lift Accident in Miami, Florida

by | May 5, 2024 | Construction Accident, Wrongful Death

There was a deadly construction accident in Miami, Florida on April 27, 2024.  According to reports, a scissor lift fell over at a construction project at Centennial Village at the University of Miami.  A contractor at the project was killed as a result.  The victim was an employee of subcontractor JMJ Painting Contractor.  The victim has not yet been identified.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by this deadly incident.

Scissor lifts, used widely in construction for accessing elevated work areas, provide a stable platform for workers. However, certain factors can significantly compromise their stability, leading to potentially catastrophic tip-overs. One common cause of scissor lift falls is operating on uneven or unstable surfaces. If the lift is placed on sloping ground or a surface that cannot bear its weight, it can become unbalanced, particularly when the platform is fully extended. Even seemingly minor unevenness can exacerbate the risk of tipping, especially if the lift is not equipped with stabilizers or the stabilizers are improperly deployed.

Another significant factor that can lead to a scissor lift falling over is overloading. Every lift has a maximum weight capacity, including both personnel and equipment. Exceeding this limit can shift the center of gravity beyond a safe threshold, particularly when combined with platform movement or other activities. Workers might overload the lift due to lack of awareness or urgency in completing a task quickly, not realizing that even a small excess can make the platform dangerously unstable.

Wind conditions also play a crucial role in scissor lift stability. High winds, particularly at elevated heights, can easily sway or topple the lift, especially if the platform acts as a sail catching the gusts. Construction projects often experience sudden and unpredictable wind gusts that can catch operators off guard. When workers do not factor in wind speeds or operate during unsafe conditions, the risk of a fall increases significantly.

Improper use of the scissor lift itself can contribute to tip-overs. Moving the lift while the platform is elevated, using it on uneven terrain without properly setting stabilizers, or making abrupt movements can all disrupt the balance. Even a slight jerk of the platform while workers are on it can cause the lift to tip if it’s already in a precarious position. Comprehensive training on proper operation and maintenance can help minimize these risks, but any lapse in adherence to safety protocols can still lead to severe accidents.

Tragically, there have been a number of recent deaths and injuries on construction projects.  A crane collapsed during construction at the Las Vegas Convention Center on April 24, 2024.  There was a trench collapse in Brookhaven, Georgia on April 25, 2024.  There was a crane accident in Braintree, Massachusetts on May 1, 2024.  A deadly fall accident occurred at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 2, 2024.  A metal drum escaped a construction project and hit and killed a bystander in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 3, 2024.

Despite being a vital part of the economy, construction projects often pose severe hazards both to construction workers and to the general public if precautions are not taken.  Each construction project poses its own unique risks and hazards based on the work being done.  Risks that may present themselves during a project must be carefully evaluated before the job begins.

Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously.  The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident at a work site.

Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.