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Scaffolding Accidents

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 2-Aug-2012

Construction workers face numerous on-the-job hazards, and, unfortunately, industry employees suffer numerous serious injuries or fatalities each year. Some of the most common construction accidents involve scaffolding and other types of lifts since they are used at almost every construction site.

What is Scaffolding?

Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support workers and materials at a construction site. Scaffolds are often made from timber or steel, although sometimes they are thrown together with leftover scrap materials. Scaffolding set-ups are frequently constructed without pre-planning, resulting in many unsafe structures. There are many types of scaffolding, but the most common are:

  • Supported Scaffolds - one or more platforms supported by outrigger beams, brackets, poles, or other types of rigid support. Variations include ladder jack, pump jack, frame, tube and coupler, mobile, specialty and pole supports. Of these, frame supports are the most common.
  • Suspended Scaffolds - platforms suspended by ropes or other flexible supports from an overhead structure. Types of suspended scaffolds include multi-point adjustable, multi-level, needle beam, boatswain's chair, interior hung, catenary, single-point adjustable and two-point adjustable scaffolds. Of these, two-point adjustable (also known as swing stage) is the most commonly employed.
  • Aerial Lifts – basket-equipped constructs used to work at higher elevations. Scissor aerial lifts are considered mobile scaffolding, and are constructed with x-shaped braces that extend upward. As the braces rise, the platform attached to the braces rises, too, allowing workers to reach new construction areas. Aerial lifts are often used to replace scaffolding in maritime construction sites.

Common Scaffolding Related Injuries

In a Bureau of Labor and Statistics study, 72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents were hurt when planking or support gave way, or when they slipped or were struck by a falling object. Many of these injuries can be prevented if construction sites comply with OSHA standards for scaffolds, yet all too many employers ignore these rules. When safety is not the employers' top priority, construction site accidents are bound to occur. When the employees involved in construction are working at great heights, injuries sustained in construction accidents are usually serious or even fatal. Common scaffolding-related injuries include:

  • Falling from scaffolding due to lack of guardrails
  • Scaffolding collapse due to improper construction or too much weight
  • Falling objects hitting employees because the scaffolding zone was not restricted or appropriately covered
  • Electrocution due to scaffold construction in close proximity to power sources
  • Pinched or crushed limbs sustained from improperly assembled scaffolding

Any construction worker or job consultant who sustains an injury while working on scaffolding may be entitled to compensation if the injury was the result of employer negligence. The industrial injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin have years of experience handling scaffolding and other construction related injury claims, and would be happy to discuss the details of your case before you file your claim. Contact our office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Categories: Construction Accident


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