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Collapsing Scaffolds Injure And Kill Workers And Bystanders, Leaving Contractors Open To Lawsuits

Multiple incidents in recent months of collapsing scaffolds in Florida have left workers and bystanders injured. In addition, two people have died, leaving the construction companies susceptible to lawsuits.

Three artists in Hollywood, Fla., were on a suspension scaffold hanging four stories above the sidewalk Oct. 24 when it collapsed. The men were painting a mural on the side of a 41-story luxury beachfront condominium. Two of the men were saved by the safety harnesses they were wearing. A third man fell to his death. It was still unknown, days into the investigation, whether the man who died was wearing a safety harness. One of the surviving painters was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. The other was evaluated for injuries at the scene but did not require hospitalization.

The general contractor for the Hollywood, Fla., project had another scaffold collapse days earlier at one of their projects in Miami. A bystander on the ground died and five others were injured when cantilevered scaffolding on the top floor of a 50-story building fell sending a cascade of debris to the ground. Cantilevered scaffolding is attached to the exterior of a building and hangs over the edge. Construction workers were loading and unloading equipment onto the platform using a crane when it failed. A 50-year-old bystander on the ground had a heart attack while running from the falling debris. Five other people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Inspectors from fire and police departments as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating the incidents. Work was suspended at both sites pending reviews.

Another painter was injured in June when scaffolding collapsed at a condominium building in Fort Lauderdale. The collapse also knocked out a transformer and traffic lights.

And in May, several workers were riding on a mechanical scaffolding rolling up the side of a building in Delray Beach when the motor failed causing one end of the scaffolding to fall. The scaffolding was at least nine stories up when it began to fall.

On average, about 14 percent of all occupational fatalities occur from falls from some height, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost as many people die from a fall of just six- to 10-feet as do those who fall from heights of 30 feet or higher. And women are almost as likely to die in an on-the-job fall as men.

In 2014, the most recent year available from the bureau, 179 people in Pennsylvania died while at work, compared to 74 in Maryland and 11 in Washington D.C.

Liability in cases of a workplace injury can be complicated and may require an experienced personal injury lawyer to sort through the various aspects of the case.

If you have been injured on the job or a loved one has been killed as a result of the unsafe condition, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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