Michelangelo I’m Not

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Q: I am a painter – not Michelangelo, just buildings.  My foreman needed me on a scaffold.  We didn’t have one.  He said, “Use what’s there.”  They took some wood and laid it on top of some pipes that stuck out of the building.  I stayed on okay, but when I was done, I moved to the outside, to climb down, and I grabbed a corner.  The ‘scaffold’ began to tip.  I slipped and fell to the ground.

A: The Labor Law requires an employer to give you scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes and other devices that afford proper protection.  There are many details, too.  As just a couple of examples, high scaffolding must have a safety rail, and all scaffolding must be constructed to bear four times the maximum weight that will actually be upon IT.

It appears that this ‘scaffold’ failed to deliver.  If you bring suit, they may try to say that you swung your body off, i.e. you moved too quickly.  Our position would be that you moved as cautiously as you should.  (In the case of a normal scaffold, there would be questions about, e.g., the wheel locks, too.  Did you use them?  Were they broken?)

There will be a host of other questions.  For example, were you on medication, of which your employer was unaware, that compromised your ability to keep balance?  Were you preoccupied with a cell phone?  Quite possibly, your employer has rules about when and where to use your cell phone.  If you disregard these rules, there may be great peril.  Consult an attorney to sort it all out.  Have a speedy recovery.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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