Articles Posted in Scaffold Fall Injuries

Mr. Doe, a 44-year-old electrician, was hired by a general contractor to perform electrical work at a housing development project.

When Mr. Doe stepped on the mid-rail of a temporary guardrail, installed to provide fall protection on a second-story landing, the mid-rail collapsed. It had been joined with just one nail. Mr. Doe toppled over the guardrail and fell about 15 feet to the landing below.

He suffered numerous injuries in the fall. His many injuries included a severe closed-head injury, a skull fracture, an intracerebral hemorrhage, and facial, rib, scapular and wrist fractures.

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Jeffrey Andrews was working as a cement finisher for F.H. Paschen S.N. Nielsen and Associates, LLC (“Paschen”) on a project for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (“Water Reclamation District” or “district”), a governmental entity. He fell 29 feet from a ladder to the bottom of a water chamber where he was applying sealant.

The worksite was muddy that day, and the chamber in which he fell had three feet of standing water in it. The other workers, along with Andrews, were required to use a ladder made by the construction crew for part of the descent before “pivoting” by stepping over onto a commercial fiberglass ladder for the remainder of the trip.

There was no platform between the two ladders. Andrews slipped while attempting to transfer between the two ladders landing on a co-worker, breaking multiple bones and suffering “severe, career-ending head injuries.”
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Bronson Ganka was a maintenance worker for Apartments Downtown Inc.,  a private company that builds apartments in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa City is a college town where the University of Iowa is located. Ganka was 40 at the time.

While he was drilling holes into a building he was working on, he fell off a ladder and hit the ground 12 feet below.

Ganka suffered head injuries and died several days later. He was survived by his wife, a minor child and two adult children.

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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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