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.
Serious Injuries Related to Scaffolding Accidents
Scaffolding accidents commonly result in serious injuries, and can even be fatal. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Electrocution (from coming into contact with power lines)
- Spinal cord injuries
Altman & Altman, LLP – Work Injury Lawyers Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas
If you have been injured in a work-related accident, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been fighting for the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. When a worker is injured on the job, he is generally eligible for workers’ compensation, but the application can be long and complex. Further, if negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.