4 causes of scaffolding accidents (and who is to blame for them)

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2022 | Construction Accidents |

Scaffolding covers buildings all across New York City. These structures are so ubiquitous that they don’t always catch people’s attention – even when they are unsafe. Unfortunately, with the amount of scaffolding in the city, accidents are not uncommon. When they happen, victims should know what went wrong and who is to blame.

Common reasons for scaffolding accidents

A wide range of accidents and failures can happen on and around scaffolding, but some accidents are more common than others.

  1. Falls from or onto scaffolding: Working on scaffolding means working off the ground. If someone falls off the scaffolding or onto it from higher up, they can suffer severe injuries, like broken bones and brain damage.
  2. Cars crashing into scaffolding: The other fixture on New York streets is traffic. With so many cars and trucks on the road, there is a risk of accidents. And when a vehicle crashes, it can crash into buildings and the scaffolding around them. This can dramatically compromise the safety and security of these structures. 
  3. Instability due to poor or improper construction: There are strict regulations regarding properly erecting and maintaining scaffolding. Unfortunately, not everyone complies with these rules. In cases where scaffolding is built incorrectly or uses inappropriate materials, parties can be hurt by falls or getting struct by debris.
  4. Weather-related accidents: When the weather is snowy, rainy or windy, working on scaffolding can be incredibly unsafe. Those who continue to work through bad weather should have protective gear and equipment to keep them safer, but accidents still happen.

Accidents stemming from these issues can be quite serious, and injured parties can be severely hurt, physically and mentally.

So, who is to blame?

Liability for scaffolding accidents falls on negligent or reckless parties contributing to a person’s injuries. It is not unusual for contractors, property managers and third parties to be liable. 

These parties can face various penalties, including compensating victims for damages. Parties can even face criminal charges, which happened recently when the Brooklyn District Attorney charged a foreman with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment after a scaffolding accident.

Scaffolding accidents should not happen, but they do. And when they do, those responsible for them must be held accountable.