Scaffolding Accident Claim
Scaffolding accident claims involve seeking compensation for injuries or damages resulting from scaffolding accidents, often caused by negligence, inadequate safety measures, or improper maintenance.
Duty of an employer
In Ireland, liability for a scaffolding accident can depend on several factors, including the circumstances of the accident and the parties involved. Liability may be attributed to one or more of the following
The employer has a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their employees. If the scaffolding accident occurs due to the employer’s negligence in providing proper training, equipment, or maintenance, they may be liable.
If a scaffolding accident occurs at a construction site involving multiple contractors, the contractor responsible for erecting or maintaining the scaffolding may be held liable if their negligence contributed to the accident.
3. Scaffolding company
The company responsible for supplying or renting the scaffolding equipment may bear some liability if the accident resulted from a defect in the equipment or if they failed to provide adequate instructions or warnings.
4. Site owner
The owner or occupier of the premises where the scaffolding is erected may have a duty of care to ensure the safety of those working on or around the scaffolding. If they fail to fulfill this duty, they could be liable for the accident.
5. Other third parties
Depending on the circumstances, other parties, such as architects, engineers, or manufacturers of scaffolding components, may also be held liable if their negligence contributed to the accident.
Common scaffolding injuries
Common scaffolding injuries in Ireland can vary in severity but may include the following:
- Falls from height: Falls from scaffolding are among the most common and severe injuries. Workers may fall from an elevated platform due to inadequate safety measures, lack of fall protection equipment, or unstable scaffolding structures.
- Struck by falling objects: Workers on or near scaffolding may be at risk of being struck by tools, equipment, or materials that fall from above. This can cause head injuries, fractures, or other significant injuries.
- Scaffold collapses: If the scaffolding structure is improperly assembled, poorly maintained, or overloaded, it can collapse, leading to severe injuries for workers on or near the scaffolding.
- Trips and slips: Uneven surfaces, debris, or slippery conditions on the scaffolding platform can cause workers to trip, slip, and fall, resulting in injuries such as sprains, strains, or fractures.
- Musculoskeletal injuries: Workers involved in manual handling tasks on scaffolding may experience musculoskeletal injuries such as strains, sprains, or repetitive strain injuries due to improper lifting techniques, overexertion, or poor ergonomics.
- Electric shock: Scaffolding accidents involving contact with electrical wires or equipment can lead to electric shocks and burns, which can be severe or even fatal.
- Scaffold-related collapse of structures: In some cases, scaffolding collapses or failure can cause adjacent structures or parts of buildings to collapse, leading to severe injuries for workers and others nearby.
To prevent scaffolding injuries, it is crucial to adhere to safety regulations, provide proper training to workers, conduct regular inspections, and maintain the scaffolding in good condition.
Here are some primary causes for scaffolding accident claims in Ireland:
- Inadequate training: Insufficient training for workers on safely assembling, using, and dismantling scaffolding can contribute to accidents. Workers should receive comprehensive training on scaffold erection, inspection, and fall protection measures.
- Poor scaffold design or construction: If the scaffolding is not designed or constructed properly, it can lead to instability or collapse. Faulty design, inadequate bracing, or faulty components can increase the risk of accidents.
- Lack of proper maintenance: Regular inspection and maintenance of scaffolding are essential to identify and address potential hazards. Failure to adequately maintain the scaffolding can result in weakened components, structural instability, or other safety risks.
- Improper assembly or dismantling: Incorrect assembly or dismantling procedures can compromise the stability of the scaffolding. Errors in connecting components, failure to secure joints, or improper dismantling techniques can lead to accidents.
- Insufficient fall protection: Falls from scaffolding are a significant risk. Inadequate provision of guardrails, toe boards, or personal fall arrest systems can increase the likelihood of falls and severe injuries.
- Lack of communication and coordination: Communication breakdowns between workers, supervisors, and contractors can lead to confusion and errors during scaffolding operations. Clear communication and coordination are crucial to ensure safe practices are followed.
- Adverse weather conditions: Unfavourable weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy rain, can compromise the stability of scaffolding. Failing to take appropriate precautions or secure the scaffolding during adverse weather can result in accidents.
- Negligence in supervision: Inadequate supervision and oversight of scaffolding activities can contribute to accidents. Proper maintenance ensures compliance with safety regulations, identifies hazards, and intervenes when necessary to prevent accidents.
- Improper use of scaffolding: Using scaffolding for purposes not designed or intended for, such as overloading or using it as a work surface unsuited for the task, can lead to accidents and injuries.
- Lack of risk assessment: Failing to conduct a thorough risk assessment before erecting scaffolding can result in overlooking potential hazards and implementing appropriate control measures.
These are some of the main causes of scaffolding accident claims in Ireland. However, each case may have unique factors, and it’s essential to consult with a solicitor and experts in scaffolding safety to fully understand the specific causes and liability in a particular situation.
The claim process
1. Seek assistance from our scaffolding accident solicitor
Our team of experienced scaffolding accident claim solicitors is available to guide clients through the process of making a scaffolding accident claim. Utilising a solicitor can simplify the paperwork and filing required for this process.
2. Apply to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB)
The next step is to make an application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). If your scaffolding accident claim concerns anything other than medical negligence, some assaults, and some cases of entirely psychological injury, then your claim can be brought through PIAB. Examples of claims that PIAB covers include:
- Workplace injury involving scaffolding
- Serious injury involving scaffolding
- Accidents in public places involving scaffolding
3. Provide necessary information and documents
Your solicitor will gather evidence, medical reports, and other expert reports, and submit them to PIAB for assessment.
4. Obtain consent for claim assessment
Once the application is made, PIAB will notify the defendant(s) and they must indicate within 90 days if they consent to the assessment of the scaffolding accident claim. If consent is given, PIAB will proceed with the assessment. If denied, PIAB will grant authorisation for court proceedings.
5. Claim assessment
The assessment process usually takes about 9 months. If both parties accept PIAB’s assessment, an order to pay will be issued and must be discharged by the defendant(s) within 10 days. If rejected, an authorisation for court proceedings will be granted.
Statute of Limitations
You have two years from the date of the accident within which to issue proceedings for a scaffolding accident claim. If you are under 18, a separate set of rules apply, and we would recommend you contact our solicitors to discuss these. To learn more about the statute of limitation for a scaffolding accident claim, click here.
Scaffolding risk assessment
The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 in Ireland places a legal obligation on employers and those in control of workplaces to conduct risk assessments to identify and address hazards, including scaffolding-related ones. Here are some general steps involved in a scaffolding risk assessment:
- Identify hazards: Begin by identifying potential hazards associated with scaffolding activities. This may include considering factors such as the site layout, ground conditions, overhead obstructions, nearby utilities, and environmental conditions.
- Assess risks: Evaluate the likelihood and severity of the identified hazards. Consider the potential consequences of each hazard and the exposure of workers or other individuals to those risks.
- Determine control measures: Identify and implement appropriate control measures to eliminate or minimize the risks associated with scaffolding. Control measures may include engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Examples may include providing fall protection systems, using stable and well-maintained scaffolding, implementing guardrails and toe boards, and ensuring proper training and supervision of workers.
- Document and communicate: Document the findings of the risk assessment, including the identified hazards, risk levels, and control measures. Communicate the information effectively to all relevant parties, including workers, supervisors, and contractors involved in scaffolding activities.
- Review and update: Regularly review and update the risk assessment as needed. This should be done when there are changes to the scaffolding activities and work processes or new hazards emerge. Keeping the risk assessment current and relevant is essential to ensure ongoing safety.
From the moment of your first contact with Coleman Legal LLP to the completion of your case, our team listen, care and act with empathy, whatever the extent of your injury. Our teams have the understanding and expertise to ensure that your injury is professionally and properly dealt with to ensure the best outcome for you in the circumstances of your case.
Our Team will manage your case and keep you fully informed of progress on a regular basis. Our commitment and service to you will include
- Working with you to fully understand what happened,
- Collect all medical notes and obtain all medical reports on your behalf.
- Submit your claim to the Injuries Board and advise you on the outcome of same.
- Process your case and deal with all queries.
- Advise and support you throughout the whole process.
If you want to take legal action over a personal injury, you should consult our injury solicitors, who are members of the Law Society’s injury accreditation.
Coleman Legal LLP
84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
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