Construction workers often sustain injuries as a result of the negligence of other subcontractors, the general contractor and/or the property owner. The general contractor owes a duty to construction workers to maintain a work environment free from unreasonably dangerous conditions, and will be held legally responsible if a breach of this duty injures a worker. Subcontractors owe a duty to ensure that work can be done in a reasonably safe manner without subjecting anyone to an unreasonable and foreseeable risk of injury.
Tom worked for a company measuring the thickness and density of fire retardant materials applied during construction of commercial buildings. Tom’s company was a subcontractor for the general contractor at a large construction site. One morning, Tom climbed a scaffold that had been improperly constructed by another subcontractor. The scaffold, which was not built to OSHA standards, collapsed, sending Tom falling to the ground. Tom crushed his wrist, requiring several surgeries. The general contractor knew of improperly assembled scaffolding on the job site but never warned Tom. Tom would never be able to return to any work requiring him to climb ladders or scaffolding, and returned to school at the age of forty to be retrained in another profession. Following extensive litigation, his case ultimately resolved. The case resolution helped give Tom the ability to make up his lost earnings and pay for the cost of learning a new vocation.