Three firefighters were hospitalized after a fire truck ladder malfunctioned during a training session in Hall County, Georgia. Firefighters William Griffin, TJ Elliott and Stephen Jackson were injured when the bucket they were in dropped about 20 feet to the ground, reported the Gainesville Times (7.23.14).
Authorities believe that the ladder malfunctioned after a cable that runs the aerial up in the air snapped. When the cable broke, it sent the ladder track back into its bed, reported NBC News (7.24.14).
The ladder involved in the accident was a Sutphen tower ladder. Following its failure, Sutphen Corporation, the manufacturer of the ladder, requested that fire departments put certain aerials out of service immediately. The company recall included SPH 100, SP 110, SPI 112, and SAI 110 Aerial devices. The president of the company said it was a precautionary measure as they investigated the incident.
In June, three Pennsylvania firefighters were injured in a similar incident involving a Sutphen aerial. The manufacturer accepted responsibility, saying improper cables were installed on the tower truck during a rebuild two years ago.
Every year, one of the leading causes of worker injuries and deaths has been falls. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration OSHA, nearly one third of those deaths are caused by falls from ladders. Many falls happen because workers select the wrong type of ladder for their job or they use a worn or damaged ladder. Accidents can also happen when the ladder is set up improperly and it unexpectedly shifts or slips. Workers may also experience a foot slip or lost balance. A ladder may also be incorrectly used or accidently knocked over. Or, as in the case of the firefighters, it may break.
Falls from ladders and other heights can result in serious injuries that require months of ongoing medical care, and, even, death. Injuries include head and brain injuries, back and neck injuries, spinal cord injury, broken bones and more.
All three of the firefighters in the accident were reported to be in stable condition by the Gainesville Times.
Falls from ladders can be prevented.
Workers who have suffered on-the-job injuries may receive compensation for their injuries and loss. Ladder accidents occur frequently on worksites, including construction sites, and may give rise to third-party injury claims. Potentially liable parties can include property owners, contractors, subcontractors, ladder manufacturers, suppliers, and others.
The Gainesville Times story cited is “3 firefighters injured after truck’s ladder falls.”
The Firehouse news story is “Sutphen Officials Say Certain Aerials Should be Placed Out of Service Immediately.”