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Chula Vista Scaffolding Accident: Who Is Accountable?

Craig McClellan

Last Friday, a construction worker died after falling off forklift scaffolding in Chula Vista. The 40-foot fall likely killed him on impact. Immediately after he fell, however, the scaffolding on which the victim had been standing also fell off the forklift, crushing him.

The man worked for a sandblasting and resurfacing company out of Rancho Cucamonga, California. Authorities are investigating to determine whether that company or another party is responsible for the negligence that caused the scaffolding fall.

Falls from scaffolding are one of the most common causes of construction accidents and fatalities -- more than 50 construction workers die in scaffolding accidents every year in the U.S. As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes, the majority of scaffolding falls are caused by support giving way, slippery scaffolding surfaces or falling objects -- all accidents which should not occur if construction companies and their workers follow OSHA safety precautions.

In fact, because scaffolding accidents are both common and avoidable, OSHA and California have strict scaffolding laws and regulations. Failure to follow these laws can cost an employer a significant amount of money, but it can cost its employees and contractors much more: their lives.

The fact that the forklift scaffolding fell during the Chula Vista scaffolding accident indicates that there may have been a problem with the scaffolding construction. OSHA investigators will determine whether the scaffolding was properly constructed and used. In any case, the worker's family will likely be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against his company to recover compensation for the loss of their loved one.

Source: San Diego 7, " Man Dies After Falling From Scaffolding," Monica Garske, July 19, 2013