Construction workers place their lives at risk every day on the job. Accidents and falls can happen, even with the best safety equipment and highest safety standards in place. Sometimes, construction projects aren’t as safe and secure as people would like them to be, which increases the risk of accidents.
The construction industry ranks high in job-related accidents and fatalities. Most of these fatalities and work injures are caused by falls from scaffolding and other such areas of the project site. Scaffolding must be secure and should be able to bear the weight and movements of the construction worker easily. If the construction worker falls and is injured, it’s important to carry out a thorough investigation to determine the true cause of the accident and understand liability. An experienced work injury attorney can help.
What are the Scaffolding Safety Standards?
Scaffolding is an important aspect of all construction sites and some tasks and installations can’t be carried out without it. While the authorities recognize this and know there’s an inherent risk involved in all construction tasks, they have determined that this risk can be minimized by improving the safety standards of the scaffolding.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, state organizations, and even private businesses post separate safety standards that will help ensure construction workers as secure as they can be. Here’s a brief introduction to the standards construction companies must follow:
• Scaffolding should be able to hold and support four times the weight anticipated as necessary. For example, if the anticipated weight of the of the construction worker and his equipment is 200 pounds, the scaffolding should be able to support 800 pounds.
• A scaffold should be securely anchored and shouldn’t be supported by loose fixtures like barrels or bricks.
• The plank should overlap by at least 12 inches to provide adequate anchor to the scaffolding.
• To provide enough balance, the planks should extend their supports by at least 6 to 18 inches. This will ensure the planks have enough weight at the edge and dont tip over.
• The scaffolding should have overhead protection if there’s work being done overhead.
• Construction supervisors should ensure there are no tools, debris, equipment, or other such materials present on the scaffold. Obstructions can lead to accidents, especially if the construction work is distracted by their work and can’t look down at their feet.
• The construction site should not have shore scaffolds and lean-to scaffolds as they’re unsafe and prohibited.
If the construction company doesn’t provide secure and properly anchored scaffolding, they’re not following the established standards and can be held liable if there’s an accident.
What Should You Do You If You Fall From the Scaffolding?
Your first priority should be to get medical attention and focus on your health. Injuries caused by falls from scaffolding are often serious and should be addressed immediately. Some injuries might grow worse if you delay in seeking medical attention.
After you’ve received the treatment, your next step is to call a worker’s compensation attorney who will help you with your case. Your family can also call an attorney on your behalf. Here’s what you should do immediately after you’re well enough you speak with a lawyer:
• Don’t Speak with Company Attorneys – The construction company will respond quickly in the case of accidents and attempt to minimize the compensation amount as much as they can. It’s important that you don’t speak with them without an attorney present or without discussing your case with the attorney. You’re perfectly within your rights to deny a meeting with your employers until you’ve spoken with your attorney.
• Appoint Some to Represent Your Interests – Don’t hire attorneys recommended by your employers and don’t take legal advice from company lawyers. Do your research and find someone who will work with you and for your interests. Make sure you hire an attorney as quickly as you can because such cases are subject to the Statute of Limitations and must be filed within 2 years of the incident.
• Discuss the Accident with Your Attorney – After you’ve hired someone reliable to help you, explain the entire situation to them as factually and honestly as you can. In such situations, it can be difficult to recall the details but it’s important to help your attorney as much as you can.
• Give the Attorney Access to Your Medical Reports – The attorney needs to understand the extent of your injuries in order to plan the compensation amount. You should allow them to have a copy of your injuries and access to any observations your doctor may have made during the treatment.
The attorney will collect all evidence, prepare the paperwork, and be present in all interviews and negotiations with the construction company and their legal team. This will ensure you’re not pressurized into settling for less than what you deserve.
The Lawsuits Regarding Falls from Scaffold
There are three things an attorney must establish in order for the lawsuit to be successful in courts and they are:
• It’s the defendant’s responsibility to provide safety and security to you and make sure the scaffolding is safe to use.
• The defendant didn’t perform their duty and provide a secure enough scaffold and the construction site wasn’t up to normal industry standards.
• Their failure to perform this duty led to your injury and accident.
Before the attorney files a lawsuit, they’ll determine who is liable by determining who is responsible for supplying scaffolding material, installing it, and maintaining it. Most of these cases are settled outside court and in the presence of attorneys on both sides. However, if you refuse to settle outside court if you believe the compensation they offer isn’t enough and won’t cover all of your expenses.
What’s Included in the Compensation?
A compensation amount will include medical expenses, loss of wages because you missed work, pain and distress caused by the injury, loss of normal life because of resultant disabilities or permanent injuries, loss of income because you’re no longer able-bodied enough to work in your industry.
Your attorney will take your circumstances into consideration and determine the compensation amount carefully.