- posted: Jul. 11, 2023
- Construction Accidents
Construction sites are infamously known for their dangerous work conditions with at least 550 construction related injuries occurring in 2022 alone as well as 11 deaths. The most common causes of these construction incidents are falls from structures such as scaffolds. A scaffold is a movable and temporary structure that provides construction workers with support when maintaining and repairing buildings and other structures. The three main types of scaffolding are supported scaffolds, suspended scaffolds, and aerial lifts. More specifically, the most popular type of scaffolding used is known as tube and coupler scaffolding which consists of a series of steel tubes connected by clamps. These superficial structures are frequently required for success in completing a project. However, when not assembled properly or used correctly can lead to serious injuries and even death.
A multitude of factors can contribute to scaffolding accidents, for example, faulty equipment, inadequate training, overloading, insufficient support, improper use, and lack of fall protection. Falls in general are the number one cause of all construction site injuries and deaths. Typically, these falls are a result of unstable scaffold structures, inadequate guardrails, falling objects, a lack of proper training and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Scaffolding collapses are another contributing factor to these workplace falls. When a scaffolding structure is loaded up with materials that exceed its maximum load capacity, they are susceptible to possible collapses. Uneven foundations as well as incorrect assembly can also contribute to scaffolding collapses. Workers also face the dangers of being electrocuted by nearby power lines and being struck by falling objects such as tools or building materials. Any of these causes of a fall can result in serious harm or injury to construction workers and can even lead to death.
The height of a midsize scaffolding structure can vary anywhere from 16 to 50 feet while larger structures usually fall within the 328-foot range. Nevertheless, the injuries one can sustain from a scaffolding accident remain consistent. Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the most common injuries sustained from a scaffolding fall which include injuries such as serious concussions and skull fractures. These types of injuries can lead to lifelong medical issues and directly affect a person’s quality of life. Back and spinal injuries are also common injuries caused by a fall from a scaffolding structure which can lead to chronic pain, limited mobility, and even paralysis. Other injuries that may occur include broken bones and fractures, cuts and abrasions, and soft tissue injuries such as sprains and contusions.
The United States Department of Labor has appointed a federal agency known as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in order to enforce workplace safety and health regulations. All employers are required to provide their employees with the correct safety equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper training to ensure a safe working environment to prevent scaffold accidents from occurring. This involves verifying that all scaffolds are correctly built and inspected, and providing employees with PPE such as safety harnesses, anchor points, and hard hats. It is an employer’s duty to implement various safety procedures in order to fully minimize the risk of accidents or harm to employees.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries due to a scaffold accident on a construction site, it is crucial to seek legal advice immediately. Our expert team of personal injury attorneys can assist you in understanding your legal rights and help you to pursue the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation.