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Construction Site Injury: Fall in An Elevator Shaft

The Problem

The project was a new construction of a four-story, 450-unit apartment complex. A workman was removing scaffolding in an elevator shaft and fell three floors. He sustained a traumatic injury and permanent disabilities, so the claim was large. The workman was an employee of a Scaffolding Specialty Contractor. He was working as a Sub-Subcontractor to the Plastering Contractor who had a contract with the General Contractor. The General Contractor had a contract with the Developer/Owner.

PFCS was hired by the attorneys for the General Contractor as a consultant and expert witness to analyze all available project information and to testify regarding the standard of care for a general contractor on a multi-employer work site.

The Solution

PFCS analyzed the construction site incident using contemporary written documentation as well as a testimony from numerous witnesses. We analyzed the contract documents and the applicable standards for safety on multi-employer construction worksites.

We composed a report which included:

  1. A response to each of the allegations in the complaint

  2. Five top-level conclusions that were each backed by 5-20 supporting points drawn from the underlying project data and industry standards

  3. A 61-slide trial presentation of our analysis and findings that contained a step-by-step detailed contract and OSHA standards analysis, including what we call a “Contracting 101 - Roles & Responsibilities Analysis.”

This is a diagram from our trial presentation that was part of our "Contracting 101 - Roles & Responsibilities Analysis."

This is a diagram from our trial presentation that was part of our "Contracting 101 - Roles & Responsibilities Analysis."

Our Conclusions

  1. The Injured Party, a “Competent Person” and Foreman who was trained in safety and fall protection, negligently executed the work in an unsafe manner.

  2. The Injured Party’s supervisor, negligently directed him to proceed with unsafe work.

  3. The General Contractor performed within the standard of care for a “Controlling Employer.”

  4. The General Contractor did not specifically direct or request the Scaffolding Sub-Sub Contractor to [perform the work that led to the fall].

  5. The Scaffolding Sub-Sub Contractor is ultimately responsible for ensuring safe execution of their own work.

After our work was delivered in sworn deposition testimony, the matter was settled favorably. 


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