Need to Know Information about Scaffolding Accidents
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), a number of scaffolding accidents result in fatalities. OSHA is the federal agency that oversees many industries from a safety perspective. This includes construction sites. Apparently, it’s not just painters and window cleaners who can get hurt on scaffolds. Even bystanders or pedestrians can be injured when a scaffold collapses.
They say that a picture sometimes tells the story best. Take a look at the photographs accompanying this news article. Earlier this year, a huge gust of wind and came and took down three heavy stories of metal scaffolding. Luckily no one was passing by when the structure collapsed. The injuries would surely have been extensive.
Common Reasons for Scaffolding Accidents
It’s a rare occasion when anyone escapes with injuries when a scaffold buckles or is tossed over. In fact, if someone doesn’t die in this type of accident, there’s a good chance he/she will suffer catastrophic injuries. Notwithstanding, there are other reasons that people can be injured in a scaffolding accident:
- Work platform was improperly installed
- Scaffolding design issues
- Planking gave way
- Scaffold was erected with substandard materials
- Platform deflection did not conform with government regulations
- Debris cluttered the platform area
- Guardrails were not mounted on open ends of the scaffold
- Something fell from the scaffold
- Weather conditions affected the structural integrity of the platform
- Surface area of the platform was slippery
- Accident victim lost balance while on the scaffold
According to OSHA, many problems with scaffolding accidents could be avoided with proper safety training for employees on construction sites. OSHA even suggests a ten-hour class on the subject. The curriculum covers everything from supported scaffolds to suspended scaffolds and aerial lifts.
Scaffolding Accident Claims
One or more types of claims may arise from a scaffolding accident. First, were at work when you were injured? Then, you would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This would ensure payment of your medical bills and reimbursement of lost wages. You may also qualify for at least a portion of permanent disability. If a loved one has passed as a result of a scaffold accident, the decedent’s dependents may also have a claim.
Whether or not an employee has another type of claim outside of workers’ comp depends on other factors. Who erected the structure? If it was put up by the employer or co-employees, more than likely the claim is limited to workers’ compensation. The only exceptions would be if there were a design or manufacturing error. And, in the unlikely event that the employer intentionally set out to harm the accident victim, there may be a civil case against them.
What if you were injured when someone from another trade put up the scaffold? If your employer did not own or erect the scaffold, there might be a case against them. Of course, there would need to be proof of some sort of negligence action.
Lastly, if you were not an employee and injured by a scaffold for some other reason, you should look into establishing liability. An experienced personal injury attorney can help investigate a course of action on your part.
Were You Injured in a Scaffolding Accident?
As a law firm with both experience in negligence claims and workers’ compensation actions, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist you. Contact our office to learn how to pursue a case regarding your injuries.