The construction industry carries a substantially higher injury risk than most other sectors. Numerous injuries on construction sites involve scaffolding, which is commonly used when workers need to work at heights. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an estimated 2.3 million construction workers work on scaffolds. Each year, an average of 60 workers are killed and another 4,500 are injured in accidents involving scaffolds.
Common scaffolding injuries
Many scaffolding injuries happen when workers fall from scaffolds. Serious injuries may occur even when the falls are not from great heights. When workers do fall from greater heights, their injuries may be lethal. Falls are not the only type of accidents that can happen with scaffolds. Other injuries on construction sites happen around scaffolding when objects are dropped from the scaffolds, striking workers on the ground below. Injuries that are common from scaffolds include the following:
- Fractures of the legs, arms, skull, face and torso
- Severe traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paraplegia and quadriplegia
- Internal injuries
Most scaffolding injuries are preventable, and there are some common dangers that lead to accidents and injuries on construction sites. Many accidents happen because of scaffolds that are improperly secured or installed. Some scaffolds are defective and have not been inspected properly. Others are used without guardrails or fall protection. Some accidents happen because of unsafe access points to scaffolds. In other cases, a scaffold may have defects in its planking or inadequate planking coverage. Workers who are working on scaffolds may also not be properly secured, and they may accidentally drop tools that they are working with from the scaffolds onto workers below them on the ground.
What workers can do
There are numerous state and federal regulations that govern scaffolds and their use at construction sites. If a worker believes that his or her employer is not following safety guidelines, the worker should complain. Workers should always make certain that they use proper safety equipment when they are working on construction sites. They should talk to their supervisors about problems that they see with scaffolds, including how they are secured or installed, if they do not have guardrails and if the access to them is unsafe. If a worker is injured in an accident on a construction site involving a scaffold, the worker may want to consult with a construction accident lawyer at the Law Office of Jose M. Francisco about the potential rights to recovery in the case. If a third party was negligent, an injured victim may be able to recover in a worker’s compensation claim through his or her employer as well as an accident claim against the negligent third party.