Working at a construction site presents certain unavoidable risks, but construction workers also commonly suffer injury in accidents that may have been preventable. Many construction accidents involve the use of scaffolds, or temporary, elevated work platforms that enable workers to reach certain heights. As someone who often relies on scaffolds, you may have an idea of just how dangerous they can be.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, about 2.3 million American workers rely on scaffolds annually, and preventing scaffolding-involved accidents could help reduce the more than 60 deaths and 4,500 related injuries that occur each year. Because so many scaffolding-related injuries and accidents arise due to similar situations and circumstances, recognizing where your risks are should help you learn to mitigate them. Thus, it is important to recognize that many scaffolding accidents result from the following:
While falls are an inevitable risk you face any time you work from heights, exercising extreme care when working on scaffolds and consistently donning protective equipment can lessen your risk of falling and suffering a serious injury. Falls can occur because of carelessness or because workers erected scaffolds improperly, among other potential causes.
While a scaffold collapse can lead to falls from above, it can also cause other injuries to those working beneath these platforms. Employees working below scaffolds run the risk of suffering crush or high-impact injuries when scaffolds collapse, which, in severe cases, can prove life-altering and even fatal.
Falling tools and debris
While anyone working on the ground near the base of a scaffold runs the risk of having it collapse above them, employees working below scaffolds can also suffer serious injuries when tools, work materials and other items fall off the scaffold to the ground below.
Though working atop or under scaffolds in undeniably dangerous, your employer should have certain safety protocols in place to protect you to the fullest extent possible.