While scaffolding offers necessary support to construction workers, it can also create a wide variety of different hazards. What dangers may put construction workers at risk when they rely on scaffolding to help them perform their daily tasks?
1. Faulty scaffolding or inappropriate setup
Workers rely on manufacturers and coworkers alike to ensure the safety of scaffolding structures. Faulty manufacturing or scaffold in a poor state of repair can result in unsafe scaffolding even if that structure was correctly assembled. When a lack of training or worker negligence leads to scaffolding that is incorrectly assembled, it could also lead to failures in the structure. These faults can lead to instability, failures at attachment points or outright collapse.
2. Falling objects
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 200 people each year die as a result of being stuck by falling objects. Those working on scaffolding may be struck by debris from above, while those working around the base of scaffolding are at risk of serious injury from materials or tools falling from the scaffolding platform.
3. Negligent employers
Employers must follow a variety of regulations when using scaffolding. Among other details, they must ensure that employees receive training from a qualified instructor, provide safe tools for use on the job and provide appropriate safety equipment.
Unfortunately, not every employer upholds these duties. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that a lack of fall protection was among the most frequent citations in the year 2020. This lack of protection can leave workers vulnerable to falling from the scaffold if slippery surfaces, sudden gusts of wind or other issues cause them to lose their balance.
4. Environmental hazards
As the National Center for Construction Education and Research points out, weather conditions can create new hazards for those working on scaffolding. Wet or icy conditions can create dangerously slippery surfaces, wind gusts can cause workers to fall off balance, and cold weather can put workers at risk.
For those injured in a scaffolding accident and their loved ones, it can be particularly important to explore their legal options. An attorney with experience navigating the complexity of construction site injuries and deaths can help them determine the best course of action and pursue full and fair compensation. For a free consultation and an explanation of your legal options after an accident, contact Arye, Lustig & Sassower, P.C.