Many of us know that the construction industry sees some of the highest worker injury and fatality rates. The use of scaffolds is one of the most common causes of these incidents. In fact, data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website shows that scaffold-related accidents lead to about 60 deaths and 4,500 injuries every year.
When used correctly, they can be time and money savers. However, when used improperly, they can lead to devastating workplace accidents. Here are four OSHA guidelines for construction scaffolds and ways their employers can reduce the risks associated with scaffolding.
Ensure Scaffold Stability
Erecting a scaffold on stabilized ground is the first step required by OSHA and can help prevent scaffolding collapses. Before building the scaffold structure, a number of factors should be considered, such as the weight of the scaffold, materials that will be used, the weight of the workers, placement of the scaffold planks, and the stability of the ground underneath.
Inspect Scaffolds Before Use
Before using the scaffold for work purposes, it is important to check for surrounding hazards.
OSHA requires that a minimum of 10 feet distance be maintained between scaffold structures and electrical hazards. If this distance cannot be maintained, then the electrical source should be de-energized or properly insulated. This may include coordinating with the power company.
Use the Proper Safety Protection
Falls are one of the most common risks when workers are utilizing scaffolds and can occur due to improper installation of guardrails, lack of proper signage, or lack of personal fall arrest systems. OSHA guidelines require that all workers wear fall protection gear when working at heights of 10 feet or higher; this is the minimum level of protection required.
Train Workers Properly
Lastly, employers are required to give adequate training to employees in order to ensure that they are aware of safety procedures while performing work on a scaffold. This includes how to handle materials and tools as well as spot potential dangers that present themselves. Such trainings should be updated if there are substantial changes made to the structure or tasks being performed on it.
Injured in a Scaffolding Accident?
Injuries sustained from scaffolds can lead to devastating worker injuries, be it from falls, scaffold collapse, electrocution, or being struck by foreign objects. At Justice Law Office, our Louisville workers’ compensation attorneys are committing to helping injured construction workers obtain the benefits they need to recover the right way.
Should you or a loved one be injured on a construction site, we are here to hear your story and fight for you. Contact our firm at (502) 822-2230 to speak with our legal team at no cost today!