Many construction sites utilize scaffolding to allow their workers to reach and work safely at great heights. Scaffolding is usually constructed before the actual construction project begins and will remain in place throughout the duration of the project. Construction scaffolding – when assembled correctly and used properly – can protect workers; however, workplace accidents do happen and can cause severe injuries to workers and bystanders.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has very detailed guidelines in place that regulate how scaffolding is constructed. This includes a preemptive set of actions when building, inspecting, using, and tagging scaffolding. OSHA requires scaffolding to be built under the supervision of a competent person, and all workers must be trained by a qualified person in how to properly use the scaffolding before using it. According to OSHA, however, there are 4,500 injuries and 60 fatalities each year in the United States related to scaffolding use. Scaffolding safety on the worksite is essential to preventing on the job accidents and injuries.
Causes of Scaffolding Injuries
There are many ways to get injured while using scaffolding or walking by scaffolding. If the scaffolding was not constructed according to OSHA regulations – including scaffolding that uses worn out materials, is not properly maintained, is overloaded, or is overall poorly constructed – serious injuries can occur.
Common causes of scaffolding accidents include:
- Falls from scaffolding – If a worker falls from scaffolding constructed at their worksite, they can receive extremely severe injuries – especially if that scaffolding is multiple stories off the ground. These injuries can be catastrophic and increase the likelihood of a worker dying.
- Objects falling off scaffolding – Constructions workers often use tools and building materials while on scaffolding. If these tools and materials are not properly secured, they can fall and strike workers or people just walking by the worksite. Falling objects can cause serious injury and even death.
- Slipping or tripping on scaffolding – Scaffolding may contain uneven or slippery surfaces, which can lead to slips and trips that can cause a worker to fall, either on the scaffolding itself or off of the scaffolding completely.
- Scaffolding collapse – Workers rely on stable scaffolding to safely complete their projects. A scaffolding collapse is extremely dangerous and involves the total failure of the structure. A collapse can crush workers who may become trapped under tons of metal and wood. Injuries from a scaffolding collapse are almost always incredibly severe or even fatal.
Common Scaffolding Related Injuries
There are many types of injuries that are commonly seen when a worker is involved in a scaffolding accident, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations and punctures
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Loss of or damage to an internal organ
- Limb amputation
Each of these injuries can be life-altering and may require significant medical treatment, physical therapy, and thousands of dollars in medical bills. Workers may also lose their financial stability, as they are unable to return to work and will thus lose their income source and earning potential.
Most, if not all, scaffolding accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the construction company; therefore, a personal injury attorney can help you secure the compensation you are entitled to from that accident. Employers who expose their workers to unsafe working conditions should be held accountable for their negligence. If you are a bystander who has been injured in a scaffolding accident, finding an experienced, knowledgeable attorney will be critical to recovering financial compensation from the construction company and any other responsible parties. Construction companies are required to ensure public safety throughout their projects, which includes preventing bystander injuries from items falling off of scaffolding.
Houston Worksite Injury Attorneys
The risk of an accident is always present when using scaffolding on a worksite. Texas employees have the legal right to a safe work environment, as job-related injuries can be life-threatening. If you or a loved one experienced a fatal or serious injury at work, we can help. Contact the Houston workplace accident attorneys at Adame Garza today for a free consultation.