Each year there are approximately 500,000 construction accidents, one in five of these accidents involved scaffolding. Scaffolding accidents usually occur due to improper construction or negligent maintenance of scaffolding.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Scaffolding Accidents?
In a general sense, most scaffolding accidents are caused by improper construction or negligent maintenance. More specifically, the most common causes are planking or supporting giving way, an employee slipping, or employees being struck by falling objects. Planks giving way or slipping out of place is the most common cause of scaffolding accidents.
Are There any Legal Controls Placed on Construction Scaffolding?
Under the Occupational safety and Health Act (OSHA) there are strict standards for the assembly and use of scaffolding. The problem is that many times the people responsible for erecting a scaffold and paying for it feel that some parts are unnecessary or too expensive. This results in scaffolding that are in violation of OSHA standards and dangerous to workers.
What Are the Common Parts that Are often Missing from Scaffolding?
Oftentimes parts are missing from scaffolding. The people responsible for the scaffolding will usually claim that these parts were forgotten, rather than overlooked or intentionally left out. Parts that are often "forgotten" include the following:
- Base plates and mud sills – required on all scaffolds
- Scaffold ties – must be placed at certain heights and distances – scaffold ties must also be able to withstand a certain amount of "push" or "pull" force
- Side brackets – need to be installed and used properly – it is important to not overload side brackets with too much weight
- Guard Railing – required by OSHA if a worker is exposed to a 10 foot or grater fall – guard rails must be at certain heights and must be able to withstand certain amounts of force
- Toeboards – required by OSHA if the scaffold if 10 feet or higher : there are minimum height requirements and toeboards must be able to sustain certain amounts of force
- Work platform decking – required by OSHA – the entire work level must be completely decked – planks should be inspected before installation and load capacity checked – be sure to not overload decking with too much weight
- Fastening (Lock) Pins – recommended for all frame connectors
Do I Need a Lawyer if I’ve Been Involved in a Scaffolding Accident?
If you or someone you know is involved in a scaffolding accident, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced construction lawyer can advise you of your rights and ensure that they are protected.