Nearly 65 percent of all construction workers do their job on a scaffold, which makes injury a common occurrence in the industry. These support structures are also needed among painters and window washers, and because workers completely rely on them for safety, even the smallest flaw in their design can create serious risks. These structures are built in a huge range of designs, from basic raised platforms to complex support networks that sprawl around entire buildings. Work sites are expected to maintain strict safety standards to prevent accidents, but when they’re not observed, workers can be seriously hurt.
HOW CAN A DEFECTIVE SCAFFOLD CAUSE INJURY?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has laid out a number of standards to prevent accidents, but approximately 100,000 workers are still hurt every year when using these supports. Most accidents are caused by poor support construction, faulty equipment, lack of oversight at the work site, or lack of additional safety measures at the site. When defective equipment is the reason for an accident, the problem is usually located in one of several support components, including:
- Fastening pins
- Side brackets
- Base plates or mud sills
- Guard railing
- Work platform decking
WHAT SAFETY STANDARDS MUST BE PRESENT TO PREVENT A SCAFFOLD ACCIDENT AND INJURY?
According to OSHA standards, supports must be able to hold at least four times the maximum expected load. Construction site managers must be mindful of this weight limit and never allow the support to be overloaded. OSHA standards also state that the work platform must be at least 18 inches wide, or alternate safety measures must be present. Also, many support devices, by their nature, are more dangerous to work on. Workers on aerial lifts, boatswains’ chairs, catenary supports, float supports, ladder jack supports, and needle beam supports must all be protected with fall arrest systems.
In addition to fall arrest systems or guard rails, construction sites must observe the following standards:
- All supports must be inspected daily by a project engineer, manager or someone who has been delegated the duty by a superintendent. The inspector must have the proper expertise to check for any defects or potential dangers in the support structure.
- Working on the support while debris is present is against regulation, so all debris must be cleared before the support is used.
- Supports should not be used for material storage.
- All support systems must be kept away from areas where vehicles are expected to pass through.
- Changes to the support should only be made after receiving approval from the site supervisor.
- Any safety notices regarding the support must be prominently displayed.
- The work platform must be free of snow, oil, or any other slippery substance.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP A HURT WORKER?
Many workers believe that if they receive workers compensation they are not eligible for additional compensation. If negligence is at least partly responsible for an accident, though, the worker may be able to file a claim against the supervising company and/or a third party company who may share in the responsibility. The personal injury lawyers with Terry Bryant can help a hurt worker organize a claim and gather any information needed to prove negligence. Personal injury attorneys can also represent the victim during the settlement phase and in court, ensuring that the victim gets the best possible judgment.