Scaffolds are common in construction and industrial settings. While scaffolding is necessary at many construction sites in and around our area, it can also be incredibly dangerous for workers and bystanders nearby. Year after year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that falls are a leading cause of construction worker injuries and fatalities. Out of the 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards violations during the latest reporting year, scaffolding violations were third on the list. Here, our Chicago scaffolding injury lawyers want to discuss the main causes of injuries and deaths on scaffolds.
Top Scaffold Injury And Death Causes
Scaffolds are crucial construction instruments. They allow construction workers to reach upper levels of the inside and outside of buildings. They also allow workers to store their tools and materials and give workers a stable operating surface. Constructing scaffolding must be done very carefully and according to state and federal safety standards. Construction companies must train their workers in putting together scaffolding according to OSHA regulations and industry best practices. Unfortunately, human error is the leading cause of scaffold-related injuries and deaths. Some of the main causes of scaffold accidents include:
- Poor scaffolding construction. Poorly constructed scaffolds often have structural integrity problems. This could lead to collapses, falls, and following materials, amongst other disasters that can occur. Construction workers and their employers must follow OSHA regulations when constructing scaffolds.
- Negligent or careless workers. Even a properly constructed scaffold cannot survive careless or negligent worker actions. Overloading scaffolds, failing to use proper attachment points, and other errors may contribute to preventable scaffold accidents. Construction workers must be properly trained in scaffold operation.
- Falling objects. Tools and debris regularly fall from scaffolds, and this can cause serious injuries to workers and innocent bystanders. All construction workers should properly secure any loose objects on a scaffold.
- Employer negligence. Employers could have liability for a scaffold accident if their lapses put workers or bystanders at risk. This includes a lack of training provided to workers, using low-quality scaffold materials, not adequately reviewing workplace rules, or providing inadequate fall protection.
- Dangerous working environment. Regardless of how safe scaffold may be, various environmental conditions can make them hazardous. This includes rain and sleet that could lead to a slippery environment or even toxic gases used while working on scaffolds that could harm employees.
Data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that around 72% of all employees injured in scaffolding accidents state that their injuries occurred because the planking gave away, there was a slip and fall incident, or an object fell from the scaffolding. These are all preventable hazards that employees and their employers must understand and work to remedy. Safety guidelines are in place for a reason, and an employee should never encourage their workers to cut corners during the scaffolding construction process. Scaffold accidents are one of the rare types of construction incidents that can cause injuries to both a worker and bystanders outside of the construction site. Vigilance is the key to preventing scaffold accidents. If you have been injured, contact our Chicago personal injury lawyers today at Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP.