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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

An Overview of Scaffolding-Related Injuries

June 8, 2021 in

The “Scaffold Law” is a legal statute that declares courts must hold owners, contractors, or their agents responsible for injuries sustained by falls or falling objects. The law states that the physics of the accident involve a difference in elevation.


Construction and industrial sites often use scaffolding to reach upper levels of buildings. While scaffolding is commonly used to allow workers to safely access high rise infrastructures, they can also cause severe injuries as there are several hazards associated with their use. Below, New York construction accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo review the most common causes of scaffolding injuries and how legal action may be an option if victims were injured in preventable situations.


Poor Construction


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a list of regulations and requirements that construction sites must follow when assembling scaffolding. Following these rules and regulations when constructing scaffolding is vital to the safety of workers. If scaffolding is not properly installed, it could lead to falls and a possible collapse, which could injure several workers at once. Properly installing guardrails and toe boards can further help prevent injuries and help keep workers safe and secure. 


Negligent or Irresponsible Workers


Being aware of your surroundings when working on scaffolding is of utmost importance. In addition, fall protection materials such as lifelines, anchorages, fastenings, tie-ins or tie-backs should be utilized to help prevent serious injuries. OSHA requires all construction workers on a national scale to properly assemble and maintain scaffolding in a responsible manner, as well as observe capacity regulations. In 2018 alone, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) contributed 61 fatalities to scaffolding-related incidents.


Falling Objects


It is crucial to secure any equipment, tools and materials to scaffolding. Objects that may not be secure could fall, injuring bystanders or other construction workers. Specifically, make sure tools and equipment are out of the way, as they can cause injury to workers below if they fall from the scaffolding. Falling objects from above scaffolding can contribute to worker injuries and even worker deaths, and is outlined as a struck-by hazard in OSHA’s Fatal Four.


Employer Negligence 


It is the employer’s responsibility to properly train their employees on scaffolding set-up, use and best practices. Proper training and reviewing rules with employees is key to help prevent scaffolding-related injuries such as slips and falls, and employers who fail to do so could be held liable for any incidents. Employers should also have scaffolding inspected before using to make sure the scaffolding is safe. 


Hazardous Work Environments


Proper scaffolding construction still cannot ensure worker safety. Environmental conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, hail or wind can cause slips, falls and falling objects. Construction sites need to develop risk assessments regarding onsite work in adverse conditions and prepare their construction sites accordingly by securing loose tools and equipment, using tarps and avoiding performing work on or under scaffolds.


Types of Scaffolding-Related Injuries


Scaffolding falls are one of the most common types of construction worker injuries. Below are the most common types of injuries construction workers can suffer if they are involved in a scaffolding-related incident:

  • Broken Bones
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Paralysis 
  • Death

If you or someone you know suffered a serious fall from the scaffolding that resulted in a severe injury, they may be eligible to pursue legal compensation if the incident occured due to employer negligence, a hazardous work environment or poor construction of the scaffold.


Speak to a New York Scaffolding Accident Attorney 


Tragically, scaffolding incidents occur every single year and they often lead to preventable serious injuries and fatalities. If you suffered from a scaffolding-related injury, you have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. The knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. have ample experience in construction site accident claims. Contact us today by calling (212)-732-9000 or by submitting a free case evaluation here.

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