Biomechanics Expert Opines on Death of Construction Worker


The use of a aerial lift to install a dynamic load of cross braces on open webbed steel joists went fatally awry when the operator was fatally pinned while attempting to secure the braces. The operator had been working alone, using a telescopic boom aerial lift to set the cross braces approximately one hundred feet behind his coworkers, the erecting crew. During his work, the operator engaged the lift, which pinned him between the frame of the basket and the base of the open webbed joists. He died of asphyxiation, and an expert in biomechanics was needed to reconstruct what may have caused his death, and the role played by the lift in the operator’s asphyxiation.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly describe your familiarity and experience with biomechanics and accident reconstruction of industrial accidents.

Expert Witness Response E-084238

I think a biomechanical analysis of this case would likely be helpful to explain how this specific injury occurred and how it related to the operator’s death. In my biomechanics practice I work on a variety of case types including automotive, sports and recreation, and industrial accidents. I have worked on many industrial cases often involving interaction with heavy machinery such as this. For example, a few years ago I worked on a case as a consulting expert where a boom lift operator was pinned in what sounds like a similar manner. I was able to use the injury pattern of the operator to determine how the accident occurred. I am very familiar with the biomechanics of asphyxia and currently have a scientific paper under review regarding asphyxia in motor vehicle collisions.

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