Have you been involved in a scaffolding accident? Scaffolding is such an integral part of our construction and building industry and so many workers have to trust the integrity of the building site and put their safety in the hands of scaffolding companies. CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan has said in the wake of a recent scaffolding accident in Sydney that ‘accidents should not happen if scaffolding is erected, maintained and loaded correctly’. What this leads to then, is that if a scaffolding accident happens and it was the responsibility of someone else, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Scaffolding accidents can happen anywhere that scaffolding is erected; usually on building sites. A scaffolding accident is not only limited to someone who is working on a construction site - members of the public passing by a building site may be injured by scaffolding.
A building site operator must take reasonable care to maintain the equipment and tools used on site to ensure that site workers and the general public are safe. This includes taking the necessary steps to repair and eliminate dangerous conditions with scaffolding. Failure to take such action may amount to negligence which means that the site operator will be liable for any damage or injury that occurs.
The company responsible for erecting the scaffolding also has a duty of care to ensure that their scaffolding is set up safely and with the appropriate maintenance for the life of the building project.
You will be entitled for compensation if you are injured as a result of a building site or scaffolding operator’s negligence or carelessness. Simply being injured at work as a result of your own carelessness will not automatically entitle to you compensation.
Got a work-related injury compensation claim? You may be eligible to seek compensation if you were injured as a result of negligence by an employer or colleague.
Example: Jackson is at work and walking down a catwalk from one area of the site to another when it suddenly drops out from underneath him. He falls 2 metres and breaks his ankle. The catwalk fell because it had not been tightened correctly by the installation company. Jackson may be entitled to compensation from the installation company for failing to install scaffolding correctly, and may also claim from his employer for failing to provide a safe work environment.
Example: Grace is rushing to finish work and she walks backwards onto some scaffolding holding a heavy load of tools. She trips over her own feet and falls back onto the platform, injuring her arm and sustaining a concussion. Due to Grace’s own negligence she would not be able to claim against anyone as her injuries did not result from their negligence.
It is important to take a few key steps after you have been injured in a scaffolding, especially considering that scaffolding accidents can cause serious injuries. If you are on a building site and there are other people around, you are likely to have access to first aid and medical attention immediately. If you are not around others and you are seriously injured, stay where you are and call an ambulance.
Once you are medically stable and have identified that the scaffolding accident was caused by someone else’s negligence you may want to begin the process of claiming compensation for your injuries. To do this you will need to gather evidence to support your claim.
If you are feeling overwhelmed at all you may wish to speak to a lawyer to get an understanding of what your rights are.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
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