Articles Posted in Scaffold Fall Injuries

Dean Wilcox fell 50 feet through an open catwalk hatch onto a concrete floor. Having sustained severe injuries, he sued the on-site safety planner, Steven Basehore, for negligent planning causing the fall; Wilcox also named the safety planner’s employer, Bartlett Services Inc., and an intermediary company, ELR Consulting Inc. (ELR), in respondeat superior. ELR was one of the many contractors involved in the cleanup project.

The work being done at the  site was to dismantle a nuclear weaponry facility that measured more than 586 square miles.

Before trial, the court granted ELR judgment as a matter of law. At trial, the court instructed the jury on the borrowed servant doctrine, an extension of respondeat superior. Wilcox appealed both decisions. The Washington State Court of Appeals affirmed.

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Mark Barto, who was 41 at the time, worked as a rigger aboard the Derrick Barge 50, a vessel owned by the defendant J. Ray McDermott International Vessels Ltd. While Barto was greasing and spooling a whip line from an overhead gantry crane, he stood on a board inside a spooling machine. The board broke, causing Barto to fall about 4 feet onto the vessel’s deck.

Barto suffered soft tissue cervical injuries and lumbar injuries requiring a three-level fusion surgery.

Today Barto is unable to return to work and has incurred medical expenses of $138,800.

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On Aug. 18, 2009, Douglas Anoman, a radio technician employed by Bartronics LLC, was working at the defendants’ Scrap Metal Services LLC and SMS Mill Services LLC steel mill in Burns Harbor, Ind. The purpose of working there was to service a crane radio. After Anoman removed the radio from the overhead crane cab, he fell while descending a 6-foot ladder and fractured his knee.

Anoman, 46, initially underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery with surgically inserted plates and screws, but eventually he required a total knee replacement arthroplasty.

Anoman maintained at trial that he expended $175,575 for medical expenses and lost $1,035,000 for past and future work and/or reduced earnings as a radio technician.

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Dwayne Gitter was a union electrician working at an exhibit center disassembling the electrical supply to the lighting that had been used at a recently completed trade show. He was standing on a scissors lift platform when the lift toppled from the weight of heavy electrical cables. Gitter fell 30 feet to the floor below.

As a result of the fall, Gitter, 53, suffered fractures to his left wrist, elbow, hip and four ribs. He also suffered a punctured lung. He underwent open reduction internal fixation of the fractures and surgery to reposition his ulnar nerve in his wrist.

Gitter was hospitalized for almost 2 weeks and underwent about 6 weeks of painful physical rehabilitation. Following that he was in outpatient for physical therapy. The past medical expenses that he incurred were paid by his workers’ compensation carrier.

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its reporting requirements when an employee dies on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. If an employee is severely injured, employers will now be required to immediately notify OSHA of the work-related fatality within 8 hours and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye within 24 hours. This shortened the timing that employers are required to notify OSHA of these serous injuries.

In the past, OSHA was required to report only work fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. In other words, if only one employee died or was seriously injured at work, no report to OSHA was required.

The new reporting rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015 and is particularly directed at workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction. This would exempt companies who employ 10 or fewer individuals regardless of the industry classification.

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In a case dealing with an accident at a construction work site, Samuel Escareno sought damages against Terra Cotta Commons Condominium Association and Kass Management Services for injuries he suffered. Terra Cotta Condominium was the owner of a condominium building that was managed by Kass Management. Kass hired Sherwin Painters Inc. to do both the painting and the labor to paint portions of the building.

One of the painters hired by Sherwin was Samuel Escareno. He was injured when he fell off a ladder while trying to replace a window screen.

In January 2010, Escareno filed suit against Kass and Terra Cotta. Kass third-partied and sued Sherwin for contribution, but Sherwin moved to dismiss, citing that it had waived its lien on Escareno’s recovery.

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Gamesa Technology Corp. entered into a contract with Minnesota-based Outland Renewable Energy to provide maintenance for Gamesa’s wind turbines. Iberdrola Renewables Inc. runs the Gamesa-made turbines at the Cayuga Wind Farm located in Livingston County, Ill.

While servicing a Cayuga turbine, one of Outland’s employees, Aaron McCoy, was electrocuted when the turbine unexpectedly re-energized. McCoy filed a personal injury lawsuit in state court against Iberdrola Renewables and Gamesa. The case was removed from state court to federal court on diversity of citizenship grounds. Iberdrola Renewables impleaded Outland Renewable Energy LLC, claiming indemnification based on the contract and the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act.

Outland then filed 22 counterclaims, which included indemnification raising federal and state anti-trust claims and other state law claims. Outland was not successful in seeking a preliminary injunction against Gamesa’s allegedly unfair competitive practices.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed a decision dismissing Six Flags from a Cook County lawsuit. The case arose following the death of Thomas Lee of Pleasant Prairie, Wis. Lee was a heavy equipment mechanic for a Wadsworth, Wis., contractor hired by Six Flags to dismantle the structure of its Splashwater Falls ride.

In March 2008, Lee and his co-workers disconnected and removed a motor on the ride’s platform, leaving an opening 43 feet above the ground.

As Lee was connecting cables from a crane to equipment, he fell through the opening and died. His wife, Donna Lee, filed a lawsuit against Six Flags in Cook County in July 2010 alleging that the theme park owner knew of the dangerous conditions and failed to exercise reasonable care to protect workers who were working on dismantling the ride.

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found five safety violations that carried a proposed penalty of $158,015 against an Illinois roofing company.  The company, Affordable Roofing and Exteriors, Inc. of Trenton, Ill., was cited after inspections at three job sites where workers were improperly using fall protection during the installation of shingles on residential roofs. Since 2009, Affordable Roofing has been cited in five inspections for similar violations by OSHA.

The inspections were carried out in 2013 in Granite City and Belleville, Ill.

At each job site inspection, OSHA found that there were willful violations for failing to ensure that workers used fall protection while doing their work on residential roofs. 

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Anthony Waring was a worker for a company that owned and operated an assisted-living facility. Waring was in the process of retrieving a snow shovel from a shed on the facility’s grounds. He fell on snow and ice as he was walking down the ramp leading from the shed.

Waring was 22 years old at the time and suffered herniated disks at L3-S1 and bulging disks at C4-6. He also developed radiculopathy, which caused pain radiating from his lower back into both of his legs. 

After the injury, Waring underwent four months of physical therapy and epidural steroid injections, but he continued to suffer pain. He might in the future require the implanting of a spinal stimulator to help with his pain problem.  Since the incident, he has not returned to work.

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