- Falling from scaffolding
- Scaffolding collapse and/or bad planking
- Struck-by or falling debris accidents
All these accidents are avoidable when construction workers and contractors abide by the regulations listed in the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) handbook for the construction industry.
Suspended vs. Supported Scaffolds
There are two basic types of scaffolds, although there are many other variants within those two types. Those are supported scaffolds and suspended scaffolds. Supported scaffolds are the traditional scaffolds that are built from the ground up and act as a ladder for workers to reach a high work area. Supported scaffolds are also equipped with planks/boards on the top so workers can easily stand on them and set tools safely down on them. Some common types include pump jack, frame, pole, tube and coupler, ladder jack and mobile.
Suspended scaffolds are scaffolds that are lowered from the roof down to wherever the work area is located. A common example of suspended scaffolding is what window washers use. Some of the most common types of suspended scaffolds are multi-level, needle beam, two-point adjustable, interior hung, catenary, and single-point adjustable.
Scaffolding Fall and Accident Prevention
There are many precautions construction workers and their employers can take to avoid scaffolding-related accidents. Above, we listed the four most common causes of scaffolding accidents. Here, we will list various ways adherence to OSHA regulations can prevent them:
Falls from Scaffolding
Scaffolding should be built with guard rails and other fall prevention safeties. Rails not only prevent workers from falling off the edge, but can also provide workers with something to hold onto if they begin to fall. OSHA also requires workers who work from great heights (exact height varies by industry) to wear fall arrest harnesses.
Scaffolding Collapse or Bad Planking
Poorly manufactured scaffolding can collapse and planking (what the workers stand on) can give way leading to serious fall accidents. To avoid these types of accidents, workers should check scaffolding before use to notice any defects, and workers should be careful to avoid placing too much weight on any one scaffold. Only undamaged, OSHA-approved planking should be used to support workmen.
Hammers, buckets, power tools and the like can fall off of scaffolding down onto a worker below. To avoid these types of accidents, workers should avoid working directly underneath scaffolding if possible, or use screens/netting to catch falling objects before they hit anyone down below.
Sometimes, scaffolding is placed too close to power lines. If this is unavoidable, contractors should ensure that the power lines are de-energized so that workers on scaffolding are not electrocuted. Workers may also have the option of installing protective anti-electrocution covering on scaffolding.
Aggressive Representation from Skilled Injury Attorneys
Over the years, our attorneys have investigated many serious and tragic accidents which occurred when one or more of these preventative measures were not followed. If you or a loved one was injured in a scaffolding-related accident at a construction site, contact a Pittsburgh construction accident lawyer at Balzarini & Watson as soon as possible. Our firm is extremely familiar with these types of accidents, and will advocate for the rights of the injured worker. Unfortunately, many contractors do not take their duty of care seriously and fail to provide a safe work environment for their employees. Other times, a negligent supervisor or co-worker is to blame. Whatever the case, call today to speak with our firm about your accident. Balzarini & Watson provides free case evaluations so we can inform you of your rights after an accident!