If you suffer a scaffold accident while at work on a construction site, the consequences are likely to be serious. You will need time off work and may be unable to return to the same job. Your injuries could leave you with a life of pain or permanent disability. The medical bills and any assistance you need could be significant. That is the best scenario. Many people die each year due to scaffolding accidents.
Injuries can occur for several reasons, including falls, collapsing scaffolds, items being dropped from the platform onto your head and more. What can you do to protect yourself? Try these tips:
- Ensure you have adequate training: Your employer must provide you with training before using scaffolding. Do not be afraid to request it if not provided.
- Ensure a competent person supervises the operation: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires a “competent person” to take charge of erecting, moving, altering and dismantling scaffolding. They must ensure the area is free from hazards such as electrical cables and inspect the structure regularly.
- Do not overload the scaffolding: Towers can collapse if there is too much weight. If too many people are on a level, it makes for unsafe working conditions.
- Use appropriate safety equipment: Helmets and fall arrest systems can save your life. The scaffold should have guardrails and toe boards to prevent you from falling off or through it. There should also be measures in place to prevent tools from falling or catch them if they do.
- Get down if you need to move the scaffolding: You may have seen workers pushing a scaffolding tower a few meters, with someone still on it. Do not risk your life to save a few seconds.
If you are injured, it may be due to a violation of the safety laws designed to prevent scaffolding accidents. Seek legal help to understand your options to claim.