Construction Site Accident - Lull Runs Over Foot, Below-the-Knee Amputation
On November 21, 2007, the 46-year-old plaintiff, a steel worker at a construction site, had his right foot and ankle crushed by a lull (large forklift on wheels) being operated by a co-employee. Plaintiff and the co-employee were in the process of moving steel joists when the co-employee disregarded a hand signal from plaintiff and turned in the wrong direction.
The defendant general contractor had a written health and safety policy which stated that only experienced and qualified personnel could operate lulls. The lull operator at the time of plaintiff’s accident was neither licensed nor qualified to operate the lull. Minutes before the incident, the co-employee jumped behind the controls of the lull and was having some difficulty operating the telescopic boom of the machine. The accident occurred when the co-employee turned the wrong way following a hand signal by plaintiff who was walking alongside the load being carried by the forks of the lull.
Liability against the general contractor was based on the general contractor’s failure to supervise the job site, its failure to require subcontractors to provide proof of licensure of machine operators, its failure to monitor the work for safety at the jobsite, and its failure to comply with its own health and safety policy.
Plaintiff, a former Division 1 running back, suffered a major crush injury to his right lower extremity resulting in a below-the-knee amputation of the right leg. He required three additional stump revisions, but eventually was able to be fitted for a prosthesis. In addition, plaintiff suffered an injury to the left knee, which required two arthroscopic repairs and eventually a left total knee replacement.