Who is liable for scaffolding accidents on construction sites?

Workers on construction sites often use scaffolding to reach high places without using ladders or other potentially unstable methods. However, scaffolding can be extremely dangerous for workers. Liability for scaffolding accidents depends on how and why the accident occurred.

Who might be liable for a scaffolding accident on a construction site?  

When it comes to scaffolding, anyone who manufactures, provides, assembles, moves, or maintains the scaffolding may be responsible for ensuring workers’ safety.

Potentially liable parties include:

General contractors

A general contractor needs to keep all subcontractors and any passersby safe from injuries that may occur in scaffolding accidents.

A general contractor may be liable if s/he does any of the following leading to injury:

  • Failed to repair damaged scaffolding/neglected to maintain scaffolding (e.g., if the general contractor knew the wire on the scaffolding was frayed and did nothing to fix it, s/he would be liable for any injuries that occur if the wire snaps)
  • Failed to oversee the assembly of scaffolding (e.g., if a subcontractor incorrectly assemble scaffolding, both the subcontractor and general contractor could be liable)
  • Did not ensure subcontractors were meeting all safety standards on site
  • Requires workers to set up scaffolding on shaky ground (e.g., loose bricks, concrete blocks, barrels, etc.)
  • Does not provide overhead protection for workers (e.g., nets, helmets, etc.)
  • Requires subcontractors to work during storm or high wind conditions 


A subcontractor could be liable for your injuries if s/he:

  • Moves scaffolding while you are occupying it
  • Assembles the scaffolding incorrectly
  • Does not check to ensure the scaffolding can support four times its weight
  • Neglects to use a tagline to secure materials during hoisting
  • Loads more than the scaffolding can bear

Scaffold Company or Manufacturer

Manufacturers must ensure that all scaffolding is safe before putting it on the market. If a manufacturer creates a defective product that breaks or malfunctions and causes an accident, it can be liable for any injuries.

Manufacturers may also be liable even if they did not incorrectly manufacture the scaffolding; if a manufacturer uses low-quality wood or metal, it can still be liable.

If your employer hired a company to erect the scaffolding, that company can be liable for any injuries that occur from accidents. 

Other Potentially Liable Parties

In some cases, even individuals with decision-making power, such as managers of a project, can be responsible for scaffolding accidents even if they were not directly involved in the assembly or maintenance process. 

Call Coffey Trial Law After a Scaffolding Accident 

Because of the amount of people working on a construction site at any given time, determining liability for a scaffolding accident can seem impossible. 

Our construction site accident attorneys have decades of experience examining construction accidents. We have an in-depth knowledge of the regulations all general contractors and workers must follow at all times.

If you were injured in a scaffolding accident, give us a call. We offer free consultations and do not receive payment unless you win your case.

Schedule a consultation today: 954-541-3194.