Wayne Boivin

Lives in Cattaraugus County, injured in Erie County / Roofer Wayne Boivin explains how he fell off a scaffold in Erie County. He was not provided netting or a harness for fall protection at his work site.

I was working as a roofer with two other workers for a homebuilding in Erie County. A 2 x 6 scaffold was set up to use for constructing the roof. I went down on one knee on the scaffold and other side of the scaffold just slipped out from underneath me. I fell off the roof and landed awkwardly, hitting the concrete ground.

I immediately felt pain in my back but I got up and went back to work. The pain continued to increase and half an hour later, I left the work site that Friday afternoon.

I went to the hospital the following Monday and the doctor diagnosed me with a muscle strain. He said to just take a little time off from work. I went back to work performing simple tasks for another two months but the pain kept increasing.

I visited a chiropractor who performed a MRI. I needed surgery for two herniated discs in my lower back and two titanium rods were inserted into my back. I was also diagnosed with two herniated discs in my neck but I declined to have neck surgery because it would have been too risky for my health.

At my work site the day I was injured in September of 2005, I was not provided any fall protection. There was no netting for fall protection and no harness to use to tie off. If there was netting, I would have fallen onto the netting instead of hitting the ground. My supervisor only told us to put a scaffold on the edge of the roof; no other safety instructions were given to us. The contractor was more concerned with the way the houses were being built and how fast they were being built than the safety of the workers.

Being a roofer was a great job. I enjoyed being outside, doing physical labor and supporting my family financially. But now my career as a roofer is over. I have difficulty with physical tasks like lifting and bending. I can’t cut the grass or walk for extended periods of time.

The judge granted summary judgment on my Labor Law 240(1) claim. Thanks to the Scaffold Safety Law, I was able to receive money to pay for medical expenses. The cost of the surgery was more than $60,000 and I still need to see doctors and specialists regularly for treatment.