Mar 10, 2014

Scaffolding Collapse Leads to Investigation in San Francisco

About 150,000 people are injured each year on construction sites. Scaffoldings which are poorly constructed or not up to code can cause very serious injuries, and even deaths.

According to SF Gate’s recent story 3 workers hurt in S.F. scaffolding collapse, a scaffolding collapse in January resulted in three workers suffering severe injuries. The construction project was located near San Francisco’s Twin Peaks.

The owner of the building has a history of violating safety codes at his building sites. He also lacked permits.

The incident happened on a Friday morning.”The three men were working on the roof of a home at 1412 Clayton St. about 9:30 a.m. when half of the scaffolding – a wooden platform nailed into the side of the house – broke, sending them 25 feet onto the concrete below, authorities said.”

William Strawn, a spokesman for the San Francisco Department for Building Inspection, said that the city has no work permits on file for the accident site, or the location next door which is owned by the same individual, Robert Dolan. In 2000 Dolan was cited because the location of the scaffolding collapse was an uninhabitable building. In 2003, at the same address, he was cited for having unsafe wooden scaffolding. The story goes on to add, “After Friday’s incident, the department filed an immediate stop-work order on both properties, and inspectors fined Dolan more than $4,500 for the lack of permits at both properties.”

Safety inspector Armstrong Lum inspected the site after the accident. He noted that there were many code violations, including the lack of a safety railing on the scaffolding.

“There are a number of things that are not up to code,” Lum said.

Because of the code violations there will likely be a criminal investigation.

In February, workers in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, had to be rescued from a highway project where scaffolding had collapsed, according to Workers rescued after scaffold collapses. Rafael Moreno had to dangle for an hour and 45 minutes before he could be rescued. Three other workers were also injured. There were no fatalities. The company who was working on the project, VNM Erectors, had not had any accidents in the five months since the project had commenced.

Scaffoldings are vulnerable to weather conditions. This past January, according to this story in Connecticut Postings, High winds cause Bridgeport scaffolding collapse winds of 38 mph caused a scaffolding to fall at a construction site on State Street in Bridgeport. Fortunately no one was injured.

Scaffoldings are dangerous if not built or maintained properly. Employers owe it to their workers to make sure scaffoldings do not cause injury. Have you been injured due to faulty scaffolding?
If you or someone you know thinks they have suffered such an injury, Nate Hansford can help. Contact Nate by phone at 770-922-3660.