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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 Equipments Are Involved?

Scaffolding accidents are not commonly seen in excavations. A lot of times, during excavation, lack of proper equipment is commonly seen. 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. As a result, they have to climb down der Labor Law 240, which is commonly known as the Ladder Law or the Scaffold Law. These types of accidents are commonly seen from the lack of proper equipment.

Even when ladders are provided for scaffoldings, a lot of times people are hurt because either the ladder collapses, it is not properly positioned, 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. A lot of times, you will have either broken ladders, just from the repetitive wear and tear, you could have broken rungs of the ladder or you will have 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. Unfortunately, many times the scaffolding or planks is not thick enough. As a result, when people are standing on the planks, they actually just 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 someone 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.

Generally, under the New York Industrial Code, a scaffold is 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.

Generally, 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.

A lot of times unfortunately, scaffolds are seen 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 they are in good shape which never happens on construction sites. They 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 in New York City and Westchester or call the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (212) 858-0503 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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