A 54-year old Boston recently died after falling from scaffolding at a Waltham construction site. The man, who has not been identified, was unresponsive when first responders arrived to the scene, at 427 Lincoln Street. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he died from severe head injuries. According to police, the incident is under investigation by state police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The man worked for a gutter company based in Watertown.
Scaffolding accidents occur across the country with relative frequency. The statistics below show just how dangerous it can be to work on scaffolding, especially when OSHA’s safety guidelines are not followed:
- Each year, about 10,000 construction workers are injured in scaffolding accidents in the United States.
- Dozens of these accidents result in death.
- About 72 percent of these accidents are caused by structural problems, workers slipping and falling, or workers being struck by falling objects or debris.
Fatal scaffolding accidents are frequently caused by third-party negligence. Negligence occurs when those responsible for safely assembling or maintaining the scaffolding do not do their job. The scaffolding manufacturer may also be on the hook if design or manufacturing defects contributed to the accident. A MA work injury lawyer can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries.
How to Prevent Scaffolding Accidents
The good news is, the majority of annual scaffolding accidents are easily preventable by following established safety protocol at all times. If you believe that your employer is neglecting to follow the safety guidelines below, you should report your concerns to a supervisor. If your supervisor fails to address your concerns, you can always contact OSHA. The agency will come to your work site to assess the situation.
- Scaffolding should always be erected on solid, stable ground.
- Scaffolds should have guardrails and toe boards.
- Ropes used to suspend scaffolds must be kept a safe distance from sources of heat.
- Scaffolds should be at least 10 feet from power lines at all times.
- Scaffolds and scaffold accessories should be regularly inspected for safety problems.
- Scaffolds and scaffold accessories should receive regular maintenance.
- A management alert system should be established for the reporting of broken or defective parts.
- Broken or defective parts should be fixed or replaced immediately.
- Workers should receive regular safety training and refresher courses.
- Employers should provide workers with necessary safety equipment, such as harnesses.
- Spills and debris should be regularly cleaned from scaffolds to prevent falls.
Following the tips above can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death in a scaffolding accident. Even with these efforts, however, injuries do still occur. A MA work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you have been injured in any type of work-related accident. Continue reading