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Three construction workers injured in fall from scaffold

Falls are the most common reason for fatalities in construction site accidents. Illinois construction workers are vulnerable as well as those in the rest of the country. On Oct. 2, 2014, a ladder-jack scaffold platform broke under three workers while they were performing roofing work causing them to fall from a height of two stories. Two were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries, and one was given outpatient treatment and released.

OSHA inspected the scaffolding accident and found that the scaffold planks were made of spruce plank that was not intended for use in a scaffold. The invoice for the planks clearly said they were not for this purpose, but the construction company used them anyway. Many other alleged violations were found while investigating the construction workers' accidents, including ladders that were too short for proper stability, scaffold platforms over the allowable height, several other dangerous scaffold problems due to lack of employee training in their construction, and not making sure employees were using fall protection. The company was issued citations for three willful, one repeat and five serious violations. The company was fined $294,500 for these violations. These were preventable falls and would not have happened if the company had followed OSHA standards.

The investigation also found that, in addition to the primary employing construction company, a second company was integrated enough with the primary company for the two to be considered a single employer of the injured workers under the OSH act. The secondary company had ample oversight and control over the primary to cause them both to be responsible for the safety of the employees.

In the event of a scaffolding fall or other construction worker accident, an experienced attorney may be able to help. The attorney may be able to aid the injured party in filing for worker's compensation benefits. The injured worker may be entitled to damages, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Source: EHS Today, "Not For Scaffold Use: Three Massachusetts Roofers Hospitalized When Scaffolding Breaks," Sandy Smith, April 9, 2015

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