Boston Scaffolding Accident Lawyer
The purpose of scaffolding on a job site is to make construction work easier and safer. But when scaffolding hasn't been maintained or set up the right way, the results can be disastrous.
Unfortunately, scaffolding accidents are all too common in the construction industry. Occupational statistics show that more than two million construction workers, or 65 percent of the industry, work on scaffolds. Approximately 4,500 workers are injured, and more than 60 die in scaffold-related accidents each year.
If you've been seriously injured in a scaffolding accident, the construction injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman in Boston are ready to help. Our law firm has been advocating for construction workers and their families for more than 20 years, and we can help you, too.
A scaffolding accident can cause serious and permanent injuries. Our skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers will help you obtain the compensation that you and your family need at this critical time. Our office handles general liability cases for the general public when injured in scaffolding accidents and workers' compensation claims for workers injured on the job. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront costs. Scaffolding accident cases can be time-sensitive, so it's a good idea to have one of our attorneys review your case today. Any delays can negatively impact your chances of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries.Been in a Scaffolding Accident? The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman Can Help
If you've been injured in a scaffolding accident, you're entitled to workers' compensation benefits. It doesn't matter who was at fault for your accident. You can read more about workers' compensation for injured workers in Massachusetts on the state's website or by contacting our attorneys.
A work accident attorney can help you file a workers' compensation claim and handle any disputes or claim denials. Often employers and their workers' compensation insurance carriers challenge valid claims to save themselves money. An attorney will make sure that you receive the benefits that you're entitled to under Massachusetts law.
Workers' compensation benefits are limited and provide compensation for lost wages, coverage of your medical treatment, and additional money for loss of function, scarring, and disfigurement. A work injury attorney will investigate your accident to determine if anyone other than your employer or a coworker is at fault for your injuries. If so, your attorney will help you bring claims against any negligent parties, such as the general contractor, subcontractors, property owner, product manufacturer, equipment rental companies, or engineering firms. To help your attorney and bolster your case, there are a few steps that you can take. First, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Getting medical treatment right away is important for your health and can help document your injuries for a personal injury case. Next, take pictures of your injuries on the date of the accident and as you recover.
If possible, take pictures of the scaffolding and other equipment and request contact information from any witnesses who saw what happened. Witnesses might be difficult to track down at a later date. All of this information can help your attorney build a case against any negligent parties.Lack of Fall Protection, Falling Tools, and Other Hazards Cause Scaffolding Accidents
There are two main types of scaffolds—supported scaffolds and suspended scaffolds. Supported scaffolds comprise one or more platforms supported by poles, legs, frames, and other rigid, load-bearing components. In contrast, suspended scaffolds contain one or more platforms suspended by ropes or other non-rigid overhead supports. Scissor lifts and aerial lifts are sometimes considered types of supported scaffolds. Accidents can occur in any kind of scaffold.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are four main types of scaffolding-related accidents:
- Falls caused by lack of fall protection equipment
- The collapse of scaffolding caused by instability or overloading
- Being hit by falling tools, work materials, or debris
- Shock or electrocution by scaffolding located too close to overhead power lines
Other factors that can cause or contribute to scaffolding accidents include defective equipment, improper maintenance, inadequate job supervision, and poor weather conditions such as rain, snow, and high winds.
Construction workers aren't the only type of worker injured in scaffolding accidents. Window washers, painters, and maintenance workers also use scaffolding to do their jobs.
In addition, people passing by or through construction zones or worksites can be seriously injured or killed when falling tools or other objects strike them or when scaffolding collapses on them. That's why worksites should be properly blocked off and pedestrians routed around any potentially hazardous areas.
OSHA reports that nearly three-quarters of workers injured in scaffold-related accidents said the accident was caused by the planking or other support giving way or by the worker slipping or being hit by a falling object. The agency says the implementation of its safety regulations can prevent or reduce these accidents.
Workers who set up scaffolds are known as "erectors," and those who disassemble scaffolds are called "dismantlers." OSHA requires employers to train employees who erect and dismantle scaffolding. Errors in set up can be catastrophic and place workers performing tasks on and near the scaffolding at risk. Before scaffolds are erected, certain factors should be considered, such as the type of scaffold best suited for the job, the maximum load for the scaffold, ensuring that a good foundation is used, and avoiding any electrical hazards in the area. Scaffold erectors and dismantlers are at risk of injury when the proper precautions are not taken.
It's not unusual for scaffolding to be quickly erected without proper planning in an effort to get a job finished quicker. In situations where a complex scaffolding system is needed to perform a job, an engineer should be consulted.
You can read more about OSHA's safety regulations about scaffolds on the agency's website.Scaffolding Accidents Can Cause Brain Injuries, Spinal Injuries, and Wrongful Death
Workers performing tasks on scaffolding are suspended many feet above the ground. That's why scaffolding accidents can cause serious, devastating injuries. There's little room for even the slightest error or misstep.
Workers injured in scaffolding accidents often suffer:
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Back or neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries that result in permanent paralysis
- Broken bones, including skull fractures
- Internal injuries such as organ damage
- Shock and electrocution when scaffolding comes into contact with high-voltage power lines
- Wrongful death
Fortunately, there are steps that construction companies and their workers can take to minimize and mitigate scaffolding accidents.
Employers should train on the safe use of scaffolding and any fall protection installed on the scaffolding, such as guardrails. Workers should be instructed on getting on and off the scaffolding in a safe manner and on the scaffolding’s load-bearing capacity to avoid overloading the structure. Scaffolds that are overloaded can crack, break, or collapse. Workers should not use cross braces to climb scaffolding, and they should not climb with tools or other objects in their hands. Tools and other equipment should be hoisted up to the scaffold.
Employers are required to provide employees with adequate safety equipment such as hard hats and body harnesses. Hard hats are a must as they can protect a worker from falling objects. Different types of scaffolding require the use of different kinds of fall protection.
Scaffolding should be properly set up and placed on a spot that does not contain dips or slopes and is free of power lines and other obstructions. The scaffolding base should be anchored and leveled, and all legs should be plumb. Braces should be in place, and locking mechanisms should be secured. Decks and planks should be installed appropriately.
The scaffolding should be secured to the building or braced to prevent it from moving.
The equipment should be inspected and maintained regularly. Lumber used as part of the framework should not be damaged, and braces and frames should be examined for rust, warping, cracks, and other damage. Equipment should be inspected each workday at the start of a shift. Any defects or safety issues should be reported to the project supervisor.
Scaffolding should be kept free of unnecessary tools and work materials. Tools and building materials should be cleared from the platform at the end of each shift. Tools that are left behind can turn into tripping hazards for the next person who uses the scaffold.
Work should not be performed in inclement weather. High winds pose a risk to workers on scaffolds and can bring down nearby power lines. Platforms should be cleared of snow, wet leaves, and other debris before use.
Workers should not use boxes or ladders on scaffolds to reach higher areas. Instead, the worker should ask the project supervisor to have the work platform raised.
Workers should stay off scaffolding when it is being loaded or unloaded.
Keep heavy equipment and other vehicles away from the scaffolding. If the vehicles must be in the vicinity, erect a barrier to keep workers safe.
To learn more about how our work injury lawyers can help with your scaffolding accident claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 367-2900 or using our electronic form.