Scaffolds are a necessity at many construction sites in New York and other cities. Although they are common, they pose dangers from falls, scaffolding collapses and other mishaps. For that reason, a web of state and federal laws and regulations govern the construction and use of scaffolds. Despite these regulations, workers are still killed in construction accidents.
In one recent fatal scaffolding accident, a worker in another state fell to his death from a scaffold. The 45-year-old man was working on the structure at a foundry when he lost his footing and fell. He was not wearing any protection to protect him from falls, despite federal regulations that generally require protection.
At this point, neither the companies involved nor government regulators are saying who is at fault for the accident. An investigation is underway to determine what happened. The foundry, the company that employed the worker and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating, which could take several months.
One issue under investigation is what kind of protection against falls the site was required to have and why the worker was not wearing any. A spokesman for the department of labor in that state says that the requirements can depend on the job site. The foundry and the man's employer said that he had participated in a safety meeting recently and had been instructed on fall protection.
If the companies violated regulations, they could be fined or face other penalties. Depending on state laws and the circumstances of the case, the family of the victim could be entitled to money damages. Each state handles the matter differently; New York's scaffolding law provides more protection for workers than in many states.
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