A scaffold is commonly used in construction, especially on job sites for tall structures. It is a temporary structure that provides support for workers on high platforms. Ordinarily, a scaffold is supposed to be stable and safe, but sometimes workers experience accidents while working with the structure.
This article discusses the top causes of scaffolding accidents. If you suffer injuries while working on a scaffold, contact our Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers at Waple & Houk. We’ll examine the case facts to determine if you are eligible for compensation and commence the claims process.
8 Common Causes of Scaffolding Accidents
Numerous factors could cause a scaffolding accident on a construction site. These occurrences often result in a full or partial fall. According to the CDC, falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction.
Below, we discuss the eight causes of scaffolding accidents.
A defective scaffold is a disaster waiting to happen. If the structure is poorly designed, lacks necessary bracing, or is poorly manufactured, it is defective. Also, if a deficiency causes an accident, the designer and the manufacturer will be liable for damages. While your employer will pay you workers’ comp benefits, you can file a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Even if a scaffold does not suffer from design defects, it must be constructed properly to be safe to use. Examples of improper construction are failure to firmly install all attachment points, the failure to install necessary bracing, and the failure to install guardrails. These situations are avoidable with adequate knowledge and supervision. You can file a third-party lawsuit against a negligent scaffold manufacturer for improper construction.
Inadequate Scaffolding Maintenance
It is essential to maintain a scaffold to preserve its structural integrity properly. If the structure is old, your employer needs to replace it. In addition, if the scaffold is not adequately maintained, it could lead to slippery surfaces and other safety hazards.
Weak or Inadequate Planking
Sturdy planking is essential to keep workers safe on scaffolding. Weak or inadequate planking supported by fabricated frames, posts, mast climbers, pump jacks, etc., exposes workers to fall risks.
Inadequate Worker Training
Just because you work in the construction industry does not mean you are fit to work with a scaffold. Workers who work with this structure need adequate safety training. Those who construct and erect scaffolding need to know the appropriate construction method of the scaffold they are erecting and the risks involved.
Inadequate Access to Safety Equipment
Designing and constructing scaffolds properly is just part of what is needed to prevent accidents. Workers also need access to the right safety gear. But unfortunately, employers sometimes fail to provide their employees with the appropriate equipment, leading to injuries and death on construction sites.
Untrained, Inexperienced, and Negligent Co-Workers
Construction businesses often hire untrained and inexperienced workers when looking to cut costs. Construction workers could also be negligent, and these mistakes can lead to severe consequences. When employees create situations that cause scaffolding accidents, employers are obligated to pay workers’ comp to anyone who suffers injuries. This is because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system.
Ignoring Scaffolding Safety Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides scaffolding safety regulations for construction companies to follow. For example, those erecting the scaffold must place the right load size on it. Also, they must avoid placing the scaffold too close to hazardous energy sources. When construction companies fail to follow these guidelines, they will face civil penalties and compensate any worker injured in an accident.
How to Prevent Scaffolding Accidents
Scaffolding accidents are preventable if employers and workers exercise due care and pay attention to details. Reducing human error would also go a long way to prevent these occurrences. Other effective safety measures are:
- Properly training workers on how to erect scaffolds
- Ensuring workers get on a scaffold with the proper safety gear
- Following scaffolding construction standards as stipulated by OSHA
- Replacing old and worn scaffold materials
- Obeying the law on tools and materials securement
Get Help From Experienced Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Employers should never encourage workers to cut corners or skip steps when constructing a scaffold. Employees, on their part, should obey all safety rules. However, irrespective of whose mistake or negligence caused a scaffolding accident, an injured worker is entitled to compensation.
Our Charlotte work comp lawyers at Waple and Houk are here to help you get the benefits you deserve. We will ensure your employer does not blame you for the accident and deny you compensation. So, call us today for a free case review if you suffered injuries in a scaffold accident. We also represent families of deceased workers.