3 Things You Need to Know About Scaffolding Injuries
If you have been injured on a construction site, you may be entitled to sue for money damages. One of the most common causes of construction site injuries is improperly built, maintained or use of scaffolds. It is estimated that there are 10,000 major scaffolding accidents every year in the United States, and these accidents often involve severe injury and death.
Construction companies are required to follow safety standards and have a thorough understanding of all aspects of constructing, using, and dismantling a scaffold. If the company is negligent, it will be liable for money damages. For example, in one recent lawsuit, worker was doing fireproof spraying on a scaffold that had been built over a concrete floor. Because the scaffolding was unsafe, the worker fell off and dislocated both his elbow bones. The worker and his wife sued the general contractor based on the unsafe scaffolding, and a jury awarded them damages of more than $1.7 million.
It is very important for you to contact us as soon as possible so that important evidence is not lost forever, and so that you make any necessary claims before the time to do so expires. Not only are there are strict time limits on making claims, evidence must be gathered quickly. This can include photographs or videos of the exact position and condition of the scaffold. You should contact us or another attorney right after any construction site accident in which you suffer an injury so that we can gather and preserve evidence and investigate your claim.
At Berger & Lagnese, P.C., this investigation as well as your consultation and case evaluation is completely free of charge.
2. What type and stage of scaffolding caused your injury?
Frequently used types of scaffolds include the fabricated frame scaffold, the mobile scaffold, the tube and coupler scaffold, the system scaffold, and the suspended scaffold. Scaffolds can be either supported or suspended. There are many other scaffolds in use as well, each with advantages and disadvantages. The right type of scaffolding for the job and the work site must be selected in each case.
Also, there are three stages of scaffolding. The stages of scaffolding are: (1) building or erecting the scaffolding, (2) using and working on the scaffolding, and (3) dismantling or breaking down the scaffolding. Each scaffolding stage has its own particular hazards and dangers that must be addressed to prevent injuries.
All construction companies need to be aware of the dangers associated with each type of scaffolding, and each stage of scaffolding, so they can take the proper measures to protect against or prevent. This responsibility is placed on the employer who must have a competent person, who is by definition the one capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards and who has authorization to take corrective measures to eliminate them.
A scaffold can only be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered under the supervision and direction of a competent person qualified in such activities. The competent person selects, directs, and trains the employees who erect, dismantle, move, or alter scaffolds. He or she also determines the feasibility of fall protection and safe access during erection. The competent person also inspects the scaffold before each work shift and after occurrences that could affect the integrity of the scaffold, such as a carpenter having removed a brace to reach his work, or discovering broken components.
3. Scaffold Problem Checklist
After it is built, scaffolding should be inspected frequently and on a regular basis. The items inspected will be different for each job site. Here is a sample checklist of 10 potential problems to look for:
• Are scaffolds and scaffold components inspected before each work shift by a competent person?
• Have employees who erect, disassemble, move, operate, repair, maintain, or inspect the scaffold been trained by a competent person to recognize the hazards associated with this type of scaffold and the performance of their duties related to this scaffold?
• Have employees who use the scaffold been trained by a qualified person to recognize the hazards associated it with this scaffold and know the performance of their duties relating to it?
• Is the maximum load capacity of this scaffold known and communicated to all employees?
• Is the actual total load on the scaffold within the maximum load capacity of this particular scaffold?
• Is the scaffold plumb, square, and level?
• Is there safe access to all scaffold platforms?
• Are all working platforms fully and properly planked?
• Are the planks in good condition and free of visible defects?
• Does the scaffold have required toe boards and guardrails?
For more information and a free, no obligation case evaluation, make a free call to Berger & Lagnese, P.C.,