Articles Posted in Scaffolding Accidents

Construction is widely known as one of the most dangerous occupations, but many common construction accidents—and their resulting injuries—are easily preventable. By grouping the most common causes of construction accidents into different categories, we can better understand why they occur and how to prevent them.

The four most common construction accident categories are as follows:

  • Electrical incidents: Electrocution is common in the construction industry, and this type of injury is often fatal. By following certain safety precautions, however, electrocutions are one of the easiest accidents to prevent. Most often, electrocution occurs when a worker comes into contact with a power line, or through improper use of electrical equipment, such as extension cords.
  • Falls: Just as electrocutions are easy to prevent with proper safety practices, so are falls. When working in high places or on elevated platforms, workers should always be equipped with personal fall protection gear. In addition, the improper use of scaffolds and ladders contribute to serious falls in the construction industry every year. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.
  • Struck-by accidents: According to a recent report by Lorman, a professional training and regulatory company, when it comes to struck-by accidents, “in the great majority of cases, cranes and trucks are the main cause of accidents and deaths.” In addition to cranes and trucks, falling objects can also strike and seriously injure, or kill, construction workers. By ensuring proper use of cranes, adherence to safe driving practices, and proper storage and installation of objects and equipment, struck-by accidents can be dramatically reduced.
  • Trenching and evacuation accidents: Sadly, trenching and evacuation accidents are commonly fatal. As such, taking strict preventative measures to avoid these accidents is of the utmost importance. In addition to cave-ins, trenching and excavation fatalities are often the result of the inhalation of toxic fumes, a lack of oxygen, or drowning.

Of the four categories above, falls are responsible for the most serious and fatal work accidents in the construction industry. In fact, in 2016, nearly 40 percent of all fatal construction injuries were a result of falls. A total of 5,190 workers were fatally injured on the job in 2016, and more than 20 percent of those occurred in construction. As sobering as these statistics may be, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds us that the vast majority of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented.

Most Common OSHA Violations

In 2017, OSHA conducted tens-of-thousands of safety inspections in businesses across the nation. The agency is responsible for establishing, and enforcing, workplace safety regulations. When violations are discovered, the workplace must resolve the issues immediately, at the very least. In many cases, employers face large fines. According to its website, the top 10 OSHA violations for 2017 were:

  • Fall protection;
  • Hazard communication procedures;
  • Scaffolding safety requirements;
  • Respiratory protection;
  • Hazardous energy control;
  • Ladder safety;
  • Powered industrial truck safety regulations;
  • Requirements for machinery and machine guarding;
  • Training to prevent fall protection; and
  • Electrical wiring methods and equipment safety.

A MA work injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been hurt in a work-related accident. Continue reading

More than two million construction workers work on scaffolds every year. Unfortunately, in an already dangerous industry, scaffolds pose an even greater risk. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), scaffold accidents cause about 4,500 injuries and more than 60 deaths annually. As such, employers must ensure that they are doing everything possible to protect workers from scaffold-related accidents.

A recent BLS study revealed that 72 percent of workers injured in scaffold accidents reported the cause of the accident to be one of three factors: the plank or support gave way, the worker slipped, or the worker was struck by a falling object. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.

Scaffolding Safety Concerns

One of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in the construction industry, scaffolding accidents can be dramatically reduced by implementing proper safety measures.

 

  • Always inspect scaffolding prior to use. Before each work shift, workers should visually inspect the scaffolds, looking for defective or damaged parts that should be replaced. Also inspect personal fall protection equipment to ensure that it is in good working order.

 

  • Follow scaffold instructions and guidelines for set up and use. Every scaffold has its own load capacity, set up specifications, and other guidelines.

 

  • Workers should be regularly trained on scaffold use, as well as on the specifications for a particular scaffold prior to a job assignment. Training should include how to perform visual inspections, how to set up and break down scaffolds, how to properly ascend and descend the scaffolding, and how to safely and accurately utilize fall protection equipment.

 

  • Workers should always use proper safety equipment and gear. Scaffolds should be equipped with guardrails, and should be braced and attached to a solid structure. Personal safety gear is equally important. This includes non-slip footwear, fall protection equipment, and head protection.

 

  • Ensure that scaffolds are erected on solid, stable ground. In addition to being placed on a stable surface, it is imperative that scaffolds are properly braced using poles and uprights. Never use objects such as bricks or concrete blocks to “prop” or stabilize scaffolding.

 

  • Never exceed a scaffold’s load capacity. Each scaffold is designed to hold up to a certain weight, and nothing more. Exceeding the maximum load capacity can result in a scaffold collapse.

 

  • Stay at least 10 feet from power lines. Unless the lines near scaffolds can be disconnected, never place scaffolding in close proximity; electrocutions are often fatal.

 

  • Spills, clutter and other debris on scaffolds can be deadly. As mentioned above, many scaffold accidents are due to a worker slipping and falling. Avoid a potentially-deadly fall by wearing fall protection equipment and keeping scaffolds free and clear of spills and debris.

 

If your employer is not following one or more of the safety guidelines above, speak up. If you don’t feel that your employer is willing or able to resolve the issues, you can report your concerns to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A MA work injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured on the job. Continue reading

Massachusetts scaffolding accidents are extremely common. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 65 percent of construction workers use scaffolds regularly. The agency estimates that 50 workers die and 4,500 are injured annually in the U.S. due to scaffolding accidents. To combat this problem, OSHA releases workplace-accident information and safety standards every year. By maintaining standards that are at least as effective as OSHA’s, a workplace can dramatically reduce its risk of work-related accidents. Unfortunately, in an effort to save money and cut corners, these regulations are sometimes overlooked by employers and workers alike.

How to Prevent Scaffolding Accidents

Most scaffolding accidents are the result of user error, faulty equipment, improper construction of the scaffolding itself, or negligent maintenance. Workers can be seriously injured or killed when they are struck by a falling object, lose their footing and fall from the scaffolding, or when supports give way. The following tips can help you prevent injury or death in a scaffolding accident.

  • Inspect scaffolding prior to use. A daily visual inspection can help workers to more effectively detect damage, defects, or worn parts that should be replaced.
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines, such as specifications for set up and break down, and information about load capacities. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a scaffolding accident.
  • Train workers regularly. Anyone working on or around scaffolding should receive proper training. In addition to general safety information, workers should be trained about that particular scaffold’s design, how to set it up and tear it down, and how to safely climb on and off the scaffolding.
  • Proper gear should be worn at all times. Safety gear, including hard hats, non-slip footwear, and harnesses should be well maintained and readily available for workers. Scaffolding should also be equipped with appropriate safety equipment, including toeboards, guardrails, and
  • Ensure that scaffolding is erected on stable ground. Never use unstable objects -such as bricks or concrete blocks – to support scaffolds.
  • Never exceed your scaffolding’s load capacity.
  • Keep scaffolding a safe distance – at least 10 feet – from power lines. A MA work injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a scaffolding accident.
  • Clear debris and spills from scaffolding immediately. Falling debris can be deadly, and spilled liquids and other substances can result in slipping.

If you notice that any of the above guidelines aren’t being followed at your work site, speak to a supervisor immediately. If your supervisor doesn’t resolve the issue, you can always report the problem to OSHA. An agency representative will visit your work site to conduct a safety investigation. If violations are discovered, the company will need to immediately remedy the issue, and may be cited, fined, or both. Continue reading

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