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Common Accidents That Occur At Demolition and Excavation Sites

What Are The Most Common Accidents That Occur At Demolition And Excavation Sites? What Types Of Equipment Are Involved?

Our Westchester construction accident attorneys have successfully handled numerous, construction, excavation and demolition accident cases and know that during excavation, a lack of proper safety equipment is an unfortunate reality. For example, the general contractors do not provide the right kinds of ladders or scaffolds for people to get in and out of the excavations, which requires the workers to climb down the side of an embankment, excavation or even jump, often onto mud, which can cause them to slip. In maritime construction where workers are doing shoring, they have to climb down the site of shoring where they may slip and fall and get hurt, where a harness and lifeline or even a bolted ladder could have prevented the accident. All of these types of accidents are all covered by Labor Law 240, which is commonly known as the Ladder Law or the Scaffold Law. These types of accidents are commonly caused by the lack of proper equipment or unsafe equipment being provided, which is not suitable for the work being performed. .

Even when ladders are provided for scaffoldings, often construction workers are hurt because either the ladder collapses, it is not properly positioned, or secured properly, meaning it is not properly secured to the side of the excavation and as people are climbing, it flips or tips over, or the ladders are simply in bad condition. Too often, construction workers in Westchester and Rockland are forced to work with broken or defective ladders, caused by repetitive wear and tear, broken rungs of the ladder, broken or missing safety feet, or ladders that are not properly tied off to the side of a shoring or a side of an excavation. The ladder may be unsteady because the different rungs or parts are not properly secured.

More scaffolding accidents are seen with new construction. For example, a lot of pump jack scaffolds are seen where the pull scaffold collapses where the planks are laid across either a pump jack or a couple of pieces of lumber is tied and bolted together, or a pole scaffold. Another common cause of construction accidents are planks which are underrated, or overloaded with materials or falling debris, which causes them to break or shift. Labor Law 240 requires the scaffolding platforms or planks to be sufficient to support the weight of the worker and their materials. Unfortunately, many times the scaffolding or planks are not thick enough or not properly secured to the scaffolding, which allows them to shift. As a result, when construction workers are standing on the planks, they collapse from either the weight of the workers or the weight of the workers and the materials. If you have a mobile type plank or a mobile scaffold, and someone is drilling in the side of the wall and as the rocks or debris are coming off the wall, the mobile scaffold will get tipped over because there is too much weight on one side of it from the materials that are falling. Similarly, if a laborer is doing brick work, they will stack the bricks on a scaffold and then that will collapse because of the weight of the bricks and the individual on it.

These rules are very specific that these scaffolds and ladders in general have to be able to provide for the weight of the materials and workers. Basically if it is overloaded, that is a violation of these particular rules and regulations.

Our White Plains construction accident lawyers know that scaffolds are supposed to be constructed to bear four times or four hundred percent of the weight that is required to be placed on it during its use. That basically means that even if you are at the rating, it should not collapse, move or fail. Also, scaffolds are just supposed to be at horizontal and diagonal bracing to prevent any type of movement to the scaffold. Even if there is wind or vibration, the ladder itself or the scaffold itself is supposed to be secured and tied off and braced to prevent any type of movement.

Also, medium scaffolds are not supposed to be loaded more than fifty pounds per square foot and heavy duty scaffolds are not supposed to be loaded more than seventy-five pounds per square foot. If there is a violation of these rules or more weight is put on the scaffolds than is permissible, then there is liability on the part of the general contractor or owner. One of the big misconceptions is that even if the general contractor or owner did not play any role in the construction itself, they are still responsible for allowing this to happen on their site. They have a duty to be there even if they actually were not there.

Unfortunately, our Westchester and Rockland construction accident attorneys have seen cases where scaffolds are being used and used and reused and they are not in the best conditions. One of the rules and regulations requires that every scaffold be maintained in good repair and cannot have the defects or unsafe conditions. If the scaffold is reused, it is supposed to be inspected on a daily basis to make sure that it is in good shape which never happens on construction sites. They scaffold planks are supposed to be repaired and replaced before any worker is allowed to work on them if a defective or a dangerous condition is found.

Get information about Common Accidents That Occur at Demolition and Excavation Sites or call the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (914) 574-8330 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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