Construction Injury Occurs Due to Inadequate Scaffolding

mechanical engineer expert witnessThis case involves a construction engineer who was replacing an exterior glass panel on a large skyscraper in New York. The plaintiff was in the process of replacing a glass panel, which was approximately one hundred and seventy-five pounds, and measured 8×2. The replacement was necessary due to damage, but the project had been delayed numerous times, as the rivets in the building had required inspection and tightening. On the day in question, the plaintiff was sent up with minimal protection, and on a scaffold that an architect designed for washing windows. The scaffold which was designed for replacement of items with an increased weight had not yet arrived. The replacement was to occur on the eighth floor. The plaintiff removed the damaged panel, but when he attempted to replace it, the scaffold began rocking, and one of the support structures snapped. The scaffold managed to stay upright, but it slammed against the building, causing the plaintiff to hit the building and drop the glass panel. The plaintiff sustained a broken arm, a broken foot, a concussion, and continued back problems because of the force of the impact. A forensic architect was sought for this case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the proper scaffolding, replacement techniques, tools and safety standards for replacing architectural glass on skyscrapers?

Expert Witness Response E-005452

In addition to fall protection, OSHA has exacting standards for deflection, loading, and structural integrity of scaffolds. I am familiar with most, and I have testified on several scaffolding cases. Several standards exist relative to glazing in high-rise construction. The most common are the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and Glass Association of North America. A clear identification of the hazard, nature of the injury, and circumstances at the time of the accident would determine other standards as well.

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