Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

Unsafe scaffolding poses serious risk to workers

When people in Connecticut head to their jobs, they may be concerned about the safety risk of working on scaffolding and other heights. After all, falls, collapses and other dangers can be magnified when they take place at high altitudes. In the construction industry, workplace accidents on scaffolding are some of the most common. In addition, they are some of the most commonly sanctioned safety violations. In 2016 alone, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued 3,900 citations for safety problems related to improper use or construction of scaffolding, the third most common violation found.

Every year, these accidents cost $90 million just in lost work, let alone the serious injuries and even fatalities faced by employees injured on dangerous scaffolding. The majority of construction workers frequently use scaffolds as part of their job. According to OSHA, 65 percent of these employees regularly operate at heights, amounting to 2.3 million people. There are around 4,500 injuries that take place every year on scaffolding, including 60 fatal workplace accidents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a full 72 percent of all of these incidents take place as a result of falls or unsafe scaffolds.

OSHA has established multiple safety guidelines to reduce the risk of serious injuries on scaffolding. In order to meet federal regulations, scaffolds must be able to carry their own weight and four times the maximum planned load with no settling or displacement. They must be based on solid ground, and unsteady objects like concrete blocks and boxes cannot be used to support scaffolds.

Unfortunately, too many construction sites fail to meet federal guidelines for scaffolding safety, a reality that can lead to severe consequences for injured workers. Employees who have been injured on unsafe scaffolds can seek out a workers' compensation lawyer to pursue compensation for their damages.

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