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Image - (http://wexco.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Scaffold-Sketch.jpg)

An employee of a Metal Framing / Drywall Subcontractor fell off a scaffold that allegedly was improperly situated for the work. Additionally, Plaintiff contended that the scaffold had no guardrail (at the time of the incident). The incident occurred during construction of a large mixed use building in Northern California. The result of the fall was a catastrophic injury to the Plaintiff.

WEXCO's Construction Accident Analysis Team was retained as the Safety & Construction Expert to determine the cause of the incident (relative to the issues of the safety of the subject area). WEXCO performed various functions, not limited to:

  • Evaluation of the applicable Codes, Regulations and Standards associated with the installation, inspection, maintenance, and proper use of scaffolding on a construction site.
  • Reconstruction of the Plaintiff's movements during the moments leading up to the subject incident, and whether or not those actions were reasonably safe given the site conditions.
  • Analysis of the various construction equipment available on-site to the Plaintiff (i.e. scissor lift, rolling scaffold, ladder, etc.).
  • Analysis of the accident scene and immediate actions of the Plaintiff,

In addition to the analysis of the events and positions directly associated with the incident, WEXCO looked beyond the accident scene to identify how it came to be that the subject scaffold was placed in the particular location relative to the building exterior facade, how the guardrails were either uninstalled or removed at the time of the incident, and the availability (or lack thereof) of mobile worker platforms (manlifts, rolling scaffolds, ladders, etc.). Additionally, WEXCO examined why the Plaintiff (Metal Framer) was working in the manner he was during the moments leading up to the time of the incident. In looking beyond the accident scene, WEXCO performed analysis of documents that reflected the pattern and practice of the subject project, including:

  • Review of the safety policies, practices, meetings, forms and procedures of the various parties (Scaffold Supplier / Installer / Inspector, Metal Framing / Drywall Contractor, and the General Contractor - in particular) that were working on the subject project.
  • Review of the project photographs, and inspection records.

The result of WEXCO's analysis was that, although a proper safety procedure and protocol was in place at the Metal Framing / Drywall Subcontractor's administrative level, the same protocols "broke down" at the on-site level due to conflicting operations of the subcontractors involved in the implementation of the exterior facade.

  • WEXCO determined that it was the practice of the employee's of the Metal Framing contractor to either leave the scaffold guardrails installed or, because of the need to access soffit areas (for metal stud installation) to temporarily remove the scaffold guardrails. Compounding this scenario, the wood planks of the scaffolding were constantly shifting during construction.
  • It was further uncovered that the General Contractor, who also had proper safety procedures and protocols in place at the administrative level, had previously identified the potential hazard to the Metal Framing contractor, but had not discovered the subject missing railing (and misaligned planks) prior to the incident occurring.
  • The Scaffolding Inspection records were also analyzed and were found to be, at the administrative level, appropriate.

Additionally, WEXCO analyzed eyewitness / deposition testimony as to a critical allegation that the Plaintiff precariously modified the scaffold system, prior to the incident. In looking beyond the accident scene, WEXCO discovered street view photographs (recorded by a popular website service) of the subject project during construction. These website photographs, when compared to the eyewitness testimony, clearly demonstrated the erroneous testimony of the key witness.

WEXCO has over 20 years experience successfully serving the legal industry. Our highly trained staff have investigated over 10,000 cases, delivered over 2,000 depositions and provided testimony in over 600 trials.

WEXCO has offices in California and Texas, but has been called upon to testify in cases throughout the country.

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Dr. Stephen C. Wexler: 40 years experience in construction, construction management, safety and related. Unusual combination of safety engineering and construction and civil engineering permits separate areas within construction, safety, and premises liability. 6 years Instructor at UCLA Evening Extension in Engineering & Construction Management, and 4 years US Navy Seabees Instructor for Construction Management - Port Hueneme, CA and Gulfport, Mississippi.

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