Alleged Improper Equipment Assembly in a Construction Site Accident

This case study delves into a construction site accident involving a forklift and jib, focusing on the liability of the heavy equipment rental company.

ByZach Barreto


Published on January 30, 2024

Injured construction worker

Case Overview

This case study delves into an unfortunate incident at a construction site where a worker was injured due to the malfunction of rented heavy equipment. The equipment, a forklift and jib, were provided by a rental company to a steel manufacturer for erecting steel columns. During the unrigging process, the jib detached from the forklift, causing it to fall onto a worker.

The central issue in this case is the allegation against the heavy equipment rental company. It is claimed that they failed to properly assemble the equipment before renting it out. The plaintiff asserts that it was the duty of the rental company to ensure that the equipment was correctly assembled and safe for use before delivering it to the steel manufacturer.

Questions to the Occupational Health and Safety expert and their responses


Can you describe your professional background in heavy equipment rentals, specifically as it pertains to working with forklifts and jibs?

I am a certified safety and health official with an MS degree in Occupational Safety and Health. My experience spans several years in heavy equipment rentals, particularly with forklifts and jibs. As a former safety director at an equipment rental company, I have encountered similar issues.


What is the duty of a heavy equipment rental company to ensure that the equipment is safe to use prior to delivering it for use?

A heavy equipment rental company has more than just an obligation to provide machinery; they must also ensure all rented equipment is safe for use prior to delivery. If there's an order specifying assembly, then it becomes their responsibility to provide appropriately assembled and inspected equipment.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, can you elaborate?

Yes, I have reviewed similar cases where liability fell upon rental companies due to improper assembly or inspection of rented heavy machinery.

About the expert

This expert boasts over two decades of experience in environmental health, occupational health, and safety, with a specialization in workplace injuries and fatalities across construction, oil, gas, and retail sectors. They hold a BA in Healthcare Administration, an MS in Occupational Safety and Health, and an MBA from reputable universities. Currently serving as adjunct faculty of occupational safety and health at a major university, the director of environmental health and safety at a well-servicing company, and the owner of an EMS education service, this expert is also a licensed paramedic and certified EMS instructor, safety health and environmental professional, and OSHA outreach instructor.

Expert headshot


About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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