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Home-made scaffolding erected 15 minutes earlier is not a common work area

The sub-contractor employer who employed Wayne Goodfallow on a job site run by  Glennwood Custom Builders built a home-made scaffolding to install 3 windows on the second floor. Within 15 minutes, it collapsed, causing Goodfallow to fall 15 feet and suffer permanent injuries.  Only Goodfallow and one co-worker were on the scaffolding and no other subcontractor's workers would have used the scaffolding, as there were manufactured scaffolding elements present at the site.  On this basis, the court concluded that the scaffolding did not contitute a "common work area" because it did not endanger a signficant number of workers.  The court pointed out that even if a number of workers were endangered, the danger involved was not "readily observeable" by the general contractor, as it had only just been erected.

The Court also rejected Goodfallow's argument that the men working below the scaffolding were endangered by the scaffolding, thus endangering  a significant number of people:  the workers under the scaffolding were held to be subject to a different danger than workers on the scaffolding.  Another fine piece of semantic analysis by Judge Kirsten Kelly, the insurer's advocate.

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