Accident at Work*

Scaffolding Accident Claims*

Scaffolding is a temporary structure which is used to support construction workers and the materials they use for the construction, repair and maintenance of buildings.

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A Common Workplace Accident

Scaffolding accidents* are a common workplace accident*, that can cause injury to construction workers, site visitors and pedestrians who are passing by. Working on a construction site comes with its own set of hazards, particularly where scaffolding is in use. The materials used to construct scaffolding combined with exposure to the elements means that health and safety procedures are vital in this area to ensure that the risk of injury is minimised.

Who is Liable?

If you have been involved in an accident* there is an onus on you and your solicitor to prove that the person responsible for the accident acted negligently and it was another person’s actions or negligence that led to the accident and injuries*.

The parties that may be responsible:

  • The construction company in charge of the building site may have failed to meet health and safety standards
  • An employee, if they did not follow the correct procedures while working on the site and acted in an irresponsible manner
  • The suppliers of the scaffolding could be at fault if they provided inadequate and unsafe materials to the construction company

If scaffolding is incorrectly assembled it can collapse or move which may lead to accidents and serious injuries. Another common accident is materials falling from the scaffolding which could injure people below. It is up to everybody involved in the construction of the scaffolding to ensure that it has been assembled correctly and is safe to use.

Types of Scaffolding

There are many different types of scaffolding, all of which are prone to accidents if not contracted or used in the appropriate manner.

Some of these types include:

  • Trestle Scaffolding
  • Steel Scaffolding
  • Patented Scaffolding
  • Suspended Scaffolding
  • Cantilever Scaffolding
  • Single Scaffolding
  • Double Scaffolding
  • Kwikstage Scaffolding

Types of Injuries

There are various injuries that are caused by these accidents. These injuries vary in severity and are different in each case. No matter how severe your injury is you should always seek medical attention as soon as possible. Working at such a height can lead to fatalities if the materials and equipment are incorrectly assembled so it is crucial to follow the correct procedures at the assembly stage.

Common injuries include:

Causes

Employers must provide a safe working environment for their workers, while there are times that the employer’s negligence* may be the reason for the accident, the workers themselves may be at fault in certain circumstances:

Construction by Competent Employees

Scaffolding should only be planned and erected by experienced and competent workers to ensure that adequate stability and sturdiness of the structure. Scaffolding that is not routinely or properly inspected before first use can lead to accidents.

Loading/Unloading of Materials On/Off the Structure

The scaffolding must be built in a way that materials and tools can be easily and safely loaded/unloaded/moved around the structure. At times where a worker struggles with the movement of materials on the structure, this may lead to an accident.

Entrance to the Scaffolding is Unsafe

Access points to the scaffolding that are unsafe, obstructed or unsupervised may lead to an accident. Where a scaffolding is not easily accessible entering and exiting the structure may be a cause of accidents.

Uninspected Structures

In cases where events, such as extreme weather, have occurred and the scaffolding has not been properly inspected by a trained person, the integrity of the structure may be compromised.

Falls From Heights

Workers who fall from heights can experience serious injury*. Causes of this could be slippery conditions on the scaffolding, items left in walkways obstructing a worker’s path, poorly trained/untrained workers that were given permission to enter the scaffolding causing an accident.

Slips on Wet Surfaces

This could be a result of weather conditions or employee negligence. In cases where a person has spilt liquid and failed to clean it up, it could create slippery conditions leading to a slip and fall* off the scaffolding.

Tripping Over Objects Left in the Way

It is imperative that walkways be left clear from obstruction. Objects left in lying around may not be seen by other workers cause a trip and fall accident*.

Falling Objects

Falling objects can happen for a number of reasons, a common one being employee negligence where another worker lets something fall from a height injuring a person below them. Injury, in this case, may be sustained by fellow workers or pedestrians passing by below.

Collapsing Scaffolding

If the scaffolding is not planned and constructed by an experienced and trained group of people, the integrity of the structure may be compromised and collapse at any moment. The same can be said for inspections, repairs and maintenance, if not completed by trained professionals it can expose workers to risk of injury.

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE must be provided to all workers to ensure their safety. In cases where a person is not provided with protective work gear, this may leave them exposed to a risk of injury.

Corroded and/or Rusting Components

Older parts that are rusting and/or corroded that are still in use can lead to collapse and serious injury* for those involved. Thorough inspection routines must be put in place to ensure that any components of the scaffolding that may be corroded or rusting are identified and safely removed.

Dismantling of Scaffolding

Dismantling of scaffolding by untrained workers or scaffolding that is dismantled in an incorrect manner may lead to accidents.

Preventing Scaffolding Accidents

The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) issued a safety alert with regards to scaffolding components and recommends:

  • Regular and routine inspections of scaffolding components must be carried out to ensure the integrity of the structure is not compromised at any time.
  • Excessively rusted or corroded components should never be used and if discovered on the structure should be safely removed and replaced.
  • Manufacturers manual for all system scaffolds must be readily available and used when erecting, modifying and taking down scaffolding.

 


What to do after an accident at work*?

Following an accident at work*, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  1. Seek medical attention

    Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after an accident at work*, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries and seek the relevant medical attention. If you have sustained a serious injury ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.

    For minor injuries, you must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.

  2. Report the accident

    It is critical to report the accident to your superior, i.e. a supervisor or manager on site. It doesn’t matter how small you think the accident may be. By law, accidents at work* are required to be reported if the person is injured and can’t perform their daily work tasks for more than three days. Make sure to fill out an Accident Report Form. This can be used in reference to any medical examination and will also prevent any similar accidents that could happen in the future.

  3. Identify any witnesses

    If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed the accident. This may be of use if you do decide to pursue a workplace accident claim*. It is also useful to find out if there is any CCTV in the area where the accident happened.

  4. Document the incident

    It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:

    •  How the accident happened
    •  Details of any witnesses
    •  If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident
    • Take pictures of where the accident happened and what caused the accident
  5. Speak to a workplace accident solicitor*

    If you are considering moving forward with a workplace accident claim* for any personal injuries sustained it is advisable that you speak with a workplace accident claims solicitor* as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A workplace accident solicitor* can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.

    It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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We use our expert knowledge and 30 years’ experience to give you the voice you need. We use non-legal language and provide practical and impartial advice through every stage of the process.

Call us today on +353 1 649 9900 or contact us online.

How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist workplace accident* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your workplace accident claim* it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of your injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the workplace accident claim* process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important document in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or Hospital details so he can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your workplace accident claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. You solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and your employer accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or your employer reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus of your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your workplace accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a workplace accident claim* you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a workplace accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the workplace accident*, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases* is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident* to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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