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50-foot fall kills construction worker, investigation is ongoing

A 31-year-old construction worker has died after he fell at least 50 feet from some scaffolding. Though this incident did not occur here in New York (it happened in Seattle), these circumstances could have occurred anywhere in the country. This isn't necessarily about one particular construction accident -- it's about construction sites in general, and the dangers that many workers face every day.

In this case, it appears that the 31-year-old unhooked himself from the scaffolding to get to another section of the construction site. It seems it was necessary for him to unhook his harness to do this. Officials will investigate the accident to try to discover what exactly happened and why.

Here in New York, we have what is known as the Scaffold Law. It's quite controversial right now because contractors and property owners dislike the law. They say the law (which states that employers on building sites must ensure the safety of their employees, especially those in elevated positions) always makes the contractor or property owner at fault in a construction accident, regardless of the circumstances of the particular incident.

While this argument may have some merit, the incident in Seattle would likely be a case where contractors or property owners would blame the employee for the fall -- even though every indication is that the deceased worker simply had no choice but to unhook himself in order to get to another section of the scaffolding. The Scaffold law is very important, protecting construction workers who inherently work a dangerous job.

Source: KIROTV, "Man dies after falling 50 feet at Seattle construction site," Jan. 6, 2013

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