Serious Workplace Injuries Can Point to Faulty Safety Equipment
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation benefits generally apply to losses related to the injuries and fatalities that are all too common to construction workers. However, our Charlotte work injury attorneys often see claims that extend beyond employer or worker negligence.
Recent Scaffolding Accident Raises Liability Questions
In March, 2015, ABC 11 reported a construction scaffolding accident that raises liability questions. At the time, an apparent scaffolding collapse at a construction site in Raleigh killed three workers at the scene and injured a fourth worker. So far, investigations have revealed the following points about the accident:
- Workers appeared to be wearing fall-protection harnesses while they were dismantling the scaffold.
- The construction company that served as general contractor on the project passed more than 60 inspections since 2000, but it faced two citations that do not appear to relate to the scaffold incident.
- The incident was the scaffolding company’s first fatal accident in its 70-year history.
- The “mast climber” scaffolding operates on different principles than the standard scaffolding models. Even though this type of scaffolding has been in use in the U.S. since the 1980s, it requires specialized Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection due to a lack of specific standards.
While some literature is available pertaining to the mast climber scaffolding, it all appears to recommend special training on the part of everyone associated with its use — from the people who set up the scaffolds to the workers who use them.
Investigations Can Extend for Months Following an Accident
Even months after the accident, it may be too soon to determine whether it points to negligence on the part of any contractor associated with the project, one or more workers or the manufacturer of the scaffolding.
No matter what caused the accident, it is clear that workers’ compensation claims are justified on the part of the injured workers and the families of those who were tragically killed. Additionally, third-party claims might be justified once the investigation concludes.
When a workplace accident seems to have more questions than answers, on-the-job injury victims or their families should seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
An experienced North Carolina workplace injury attorney can advise claimants of their full range of legal options while monitoring investigations and other proceedings that affect their claims.