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Why is Scaffolding so Dangerous on the Construction Site?


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Scaffolding is an essential part of a construction site. It allows workers to reach higher levels and be more stable than standing on a ladder. However, scaffolding can be very dangerous and consistently results in accidents for construction workers. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that while falls are a major source of personal injury in the construction injury falls from scaffolding is one of the leading reasons for a fall.

At the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak, we are familiar with just how easy it is to be injured while working on a construction site, and we know that when accidents happen they often impact not only your life but the lives of your family. For more than 20 years we have been representing injured workers throughout Arkansas and right here in Fayetteville. If you have been injured, don’t wait to contact a Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer today.

Scaffolding Accidents in Construction

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a vast majority of construction employees often work on scaffolds. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 65 percent of the construction industry uses scaffolding as a regular part of their job. This has lead to an obviously increased amount of accidents from scaffolding. OSHA has estimated that scaffold-related accidents account for a majority of the accidents on the work site and can cost American employer upwards of $90 million in lost profits from lost workdays.

If you or someone you know was injured on a scaffold due to an employer’s failure to ensure the use of protective equipment or the safety of the scaffold, contact an experienced construction accident attorney.  Below are some of the regulations developed by OSHA regarding scaffolds.

Reasons for Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding are temporary structures that allow workers to reach heights and move more freely than they would be able to if they were just using a ladder.  Construction workers in almost every facet of the construction industry employ scaffolding as a means of building new buildings and repairing already existing structures.

While workers are using these structures they face many dangers and are at an increased risk of injury. Workers who are performing construction, maintenance, or repair at any height are already at risk for injuries, oftentimes scaffolding adds another element of danger. This is particularly true when OSHA regulations are not followed. If you or a loved one has suffered any of the below injuries, it is imperative to contact an experienced Arkansas scaffolding work injury lawyer immediately. Some of the most common reasons for a scaffolding accident include:

Improper scaffold construction: OSHA has established and published a very detailed and specific set of specifications for how scaffolding should be constructed and maintained. That being said when scaffolding is not constructed or maintained properly it can lead to accidents and injuries.

Scaffolding not properly inspected: Related to properly constructing scaffolding, OSHA has established that all scaffolding needs to be regularly inspected to ensure that it is still in conformity with OSHA specifications. These inspections need to be conducted by a specially-trained worker within the construction industry. They will be required to know the nuances of scaffolding, how it is constructed, and how it should be maintained.

Falling objects: Many injuries on construction sites are caused by objects like tools or pieces of building materials being dropped. An item dropped from a scaffold can cause severe–even fatal–injuries to people below.

In addition to these types of accidents on scaffolding, any one of the following scaffolding related problems can cause an accident:

  • Inadequate Safety Procedures
  • Insecure or non-existent bracing
  • Weak planking
  • Insufficient training
  • Lack of protective equipment

In a study conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 72 percent of workers who were injured in a scaffolding accident attributed their accident to the planking or the supporting structure giving way. Even under the most careful of circumstances and under the watchful eye of a supervisor, accidents on scaffolding are common.  The smallest error while a worker is balanced on a scaffolding structure can mean that they fall from the structure, or are injured. Scaffolding injuries can range from minor cuts, bumps, and bruises, to life-threatening or even fatal injuries.

OSHA Scaffold Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recognized that among all of the various tools, equipment, and vehicles that may be on a construction site, scaffolding is one of the most dangerous and widely used devices. Therefore in an effort to try and avoid some of the devastating injuries from scaffolding injuries, OSHA has enacted an incredibly intricate and well-developed set of regulations and guidelines as they pertain to scaffolding.  Some of the notable sections of OSHA standards include:

  • Design and Construction: The design and construction of scaffolds must conform with OSHA requirements concerning the type of equipment, rated capacities, construction methods, and use. Each scaffold and scaffold component must be capable of supporting its own weight plus at least four times the maximum intended load without failure. Each suspension rope must be capable of supporting at least six times the maximum intended load.
  • Inspection: Employers should require an OSHA competent person to inspect all scaffolds and scaffold components for visible defects before use on each work shift. Scaffolds should be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered only under the supervision of a competent person. All components of personal fall protection equipment should be inspected by before use. Any visibly damaged or worn equipment should be removed from service immediately.
  • Capacity: OSHA regulations section 1926.451(a) – (f)(3) establish a detailed list of requirements as it pertains to how much weight scaffolding is expected to hold. In addition to being able to support its own weight without failure, for scaffolding to conform to the specifications and requirements of OSHA it needs to be able to hold, again without failure, at least four times the maximum intended to load that is applied to or transmitted to it.

Every time a construction worker climbs on scaffolding they are putting their life and well-being on the line and at risk. Accidents that are caused from improperly maintained or constructed scaffolding can lead to life-long and even life-threatening injuries.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Fayetteville If You Were Injured in a Scaffolding Accident

At the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak, we have helped many injured construction workers throughout Arkansas recover from and secure financial compensation following an injury related to scaffolding. A Fayetteville attorney for injuries caused by work equipment can help you get the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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