Boston Scaffolding Accident Lawyer
Scaffolding is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to help construction workers access high points on the job. Safety measures have improved to make these temporary constructs easier to use and reduce workplace accidents, but scaffolding is still dangerous equipment.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 65% of the 2.3 million construction workers in the United States work on scaffolding. More than 4,500 injuries and some 60 deaths occur annually from scaffolding accidents. This costs businesses almost $100 million in lost wages and compensation. The unfortunate reality is nearly all scaffolding accidents are preventable.
Employees have the right to report any unsafe work conditions to OSHA. They also reserve the right to request any safety gear required for the job, like hard hats and proper footwear.
Why Scaffolding is Dangerous
Scaffolding is simply an elevated platform. Since these platforms are temporary and often moved as the job progresses, stability is a huge concern. There are three main kinds of scaffolding, all with their own pros and cons:
- Supported scaffolding. These are multiple platforms held together by strong beams like poles, frames, and outriggers to support heavy loads. Some supported scaffolding is manufactured with locking wheels for easy movement.
- Suspended. This scaffolding is supported from above. Ropes, wires, or chains are secured, and the unit is less stable than its counterparts. This scaffolding is heavily used by window washers and workers that need to access towers, bridges, and other high structures.
- Machines. Cherry pickers and scissor lifts are scaffold-like equipment that is similar to a fire truck. They are mobile units with extensions that rise out of the equipment bed.
Despite some scaffolding reaching several stories above ground and hauling materials and equipment, nearly a quarter of workers involved in accidents were never trained to properly handle scaffolding in the first place. Some scaffolding safety tips include:
- The team must conduct regular safety checks of all ladder systems and scaffolding. If the scaffolding rocks or makes any sudden movements, an inspection must ensue. If the scaffolding is moved to a different location or its height is adjusted, it should be checked again.
- An alert system must be put in place so the crew can respond immediately to any malfunction of the scaffolding. Scaffolding with any defects must be removed from the work site for repairs.
- Every single worker that interacts with the scaffolding, whether it is washing windows from the top or simply passing up equipment, must be trained in proper scaffolding use. Regular safety training helps reinforce safe practices.
- All spills should be cleaned up immediately. Even spilling some water from a bottle can be hazardous. Debris and other obstacles can lead to falls.
- All employees must exercise proper caution when they enter or leave a work site.
- Scaffolding should never be overloaded. Each load limit should be clearly marked so employees can easily determine how much is allowed on the structure.
- Never jump or make sudden movements on scaffolding.
- Never substitute proper equipment for another tool that “gets the job done,” especially when working on suspended scaffolding.
- After a job’s conclusion, inspect the rigging and platforms for any damage or other loose parts.
- Scaffolding should be cleaned after each job.
- Drum hoists need to be supported by a minimum of four wire wraps, if not more.
If you have been hurt due to a scaffolding accident, contact Sweeney Merrigan Law today. Whether you were properly trained or not, we can protect your rights and provide the right compensation to cover your medical bills. Our team has helped many workers navigate personal injury lawsuits involving scaffolding.