Scaffold accidents claim the lives of many construction workers annually. Falls—including falls from scaffolding—remain the number one cause of construction deaths. The falls come from improper safety harnesses, unstable scaffolding, and reaching or working beyond components for which the equipment is capable. Certain states, through legislation, promote improvements to protect construction workers from falls that occur on the jobsite. With pros and cons on either side, it stands firm that construction accidents still occur and proper scaffold construction is necessary.
Scaffolding can injure many in the vicinity—the worker who is on the scaffolding, as well as those under the scaffolding. In bigger cities, it’s not uncommon to see scaffolding throughout the town, as building repairs and construction projects take place. Pedestrians are accustomed to walking under the scaffolding with detours directing them to alternate routes. They often put up with the inconvenience of entering their favorite establishment from a different angle. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that as many as 2.3 million construction workers use scaffolding as part of their normal jobs. Requirements are in place for constructing the scaffolding and what determines safe scaffolding practices. Unfortunately, many companies ignore the regulations and construct the scaffolding as best they see fit, often quickly and ineffectively.
Scaffold accidents can be caused by defects in the scaffolding materials, and improper maintenance of the scaffolding when someone reports that it is deteriorating. Falls from scaffolding can result in brain injury, broken bones, and death. In addition, the scaffold can collapse from improper weight or improper consecution. Over 4,500 workers are injured or die annually as a result of scaffolding falls. In some cases, workers are suspended several feet above the ground, after the scaffolding mishap occurs. Reaching that person is dangerous and the imminent fall is just waiting to happen.
Because scaffolds are a necessity, it’s important to take some safety measures so that if something does happen, the accident will be minimal. If you are a construction worker, or a citizen who must construct scaffolding for a temporary job, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- Wear a safety harness or other protective clothing in case of a fall.
- Comply with OSHA regulations for scaffolding.
- Make sure that suspension ropes and harnesses are maintained.
- Inspect all scaffolding before use.
If you or someone you know has sustained an injury as a result of a scaffold accident, your attorney can assist you with workers’ compensation rights and compiling a solid case.