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Protection from scaffolding falls

There always seems to be construction going on in New York, and falls from scaffolding are common reasons for workers' compensation claims. Safety in regard to scaffolding and associated equipment must be a priority for employers and workers, and proper controls and procedures need to be in place.

Georgia Tech states that the number of people who are injured due to construction-related falls is more than 100,000 every year. Death from scaffolding accidents occurs in around 50 cases per year, and the causes include falls, collapses, falling debris, electrocution and improper planking. Falling from a height of 10 feet or more is especially hazardous, and OSHA has set out regulations in regard to these situations. Some of the safety requirements include:

  • Base and mud plates must be used for stabilization
  • Guard rails must be provided
  • There must be safe access provided for getting on and off
  • Materials and tools must be neatly organized
  • Scaffolds must not be overloaded
  • Scaffolding equipment must be level

In New York, construction plans must be reviewed before a job is approved. In terms of scaffolding, the NYC Building Code requires companies to submit a variety of information about the project and the support safety. At minimum, they must provide the elevation and plan dimensions and views. This includes where the scaffolding will be located, how it will be anchored, any related hoisting equipment and all support devices involved. Information provided also includes the type of scaffolding, the height of the building, the platform construction material and the safety training requirements for all workers.

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Success Stories

  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
  • The estate of a 64 year old woman received a settlement of $425,000.00 after she was struck and killed by a speeding tractor trailer while crossing the street at the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Port Richmond Avenue.
  • A $1,200,000.00 settlement was reached on behalf of a 54 year old man from Staten Island, New York, who, while in the course of his employment as a bus driver, was rear-ended on the Garden State Parkway and caused to suffer injuries to his back and neck as well as a fractured rib and fractured pelvis.
  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
  • The administrator of the estate of a 69 year old man who suffered stage four pressure sores while a patient at a Queens nursing home settled the case for $400,000.00 after the man died.
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