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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.Tell Us About Your Case
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 from the scaffolding.
It is imperative that walkways be left clear from obstruction. Objects left lying around may not be seen by other workers and cause a trip and fall accident.
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.
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.
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.
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 by untrained workers or scaffolding that is dismantled in an incorrect manner may lead to accidents.
The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) issued a safety alert with regards to scaffolding components and recommends:
Following an accident at work, there are a number of steps you should follow:
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 more serious injuries 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.
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 for reference in any medical examination and will also prevent any similar accidents from happening in the future.
If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed your 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 your accident happened.
It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:
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 Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) for assessment. A workplace accident solicitor can help you in preparing your application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) 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.
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.
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:
Solicitors are aware of the workplace accident claim process and can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this process yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.
One of the most important documents in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or hospital details so they can obtain a report on your injuries.
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. Your 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 step.
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.
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 on 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your case.
We aim to provide clear and independent legal advice and achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.
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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 are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a workplace accident.
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.
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
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