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Makeshift scaffold causes work injury that ends in paralysis

Employers who disregard the safety of their workers likely also have no concern with the fact that each injured or deceased victim has relatives who are also affected when their loved ones are exposed to unsafe workplace environments. One employee of an out-of-state subcontractor is now bound to a wheelchair after suffering a work injury when he fell off an unsecured platform in July last year. His career also ended on that day.

After a holiday weekend in July, the 30-year-old worker returned to a Pennsylvania work site where gutters had to be installed on new condominium and apartment buildings. Although the work had to be carried out at the height of three stories, the worker's employer failed to provide a sturdy scaffolding structure and fall protection. Instead, this man had to perform his duties while standing on a makeshift platform that was supported by a rough terrain forklift.

Investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the unsecured platform toppled, causing the worker to fall onto the building rubble that was 40 feet below. The man survived the fall but suffered several serious injuries that caused paralysis in the lower half of his body. OSHA determined that it was not uncommon for this man's employer to use construction equipment such as front-end loaders and forklifts to elevate workers to dangerous heights.

Not only will this man never be able to walk again, his career as a builder also ended that day by the work injury he suffered. Moreover, multiple adjustments had to be made at his home to accommodate his wheelchair and his physical limitations. Although workers who have suffered permanent disability may pursue Pennsylvania workers' compensation benefits, experienced workers' compensation attorneys may help victims obtain all possible benefits to cover any related financial damages, including medical expenses and lost income.

Source:, "Negligent Worker Safety Practices Result in Worker Paralyzed After 40-foot Fall", Jan. 13, 2016

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