The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 65 percent of workers employed in the construction industry work on scaffolds frequently - this accounts for a total of approximately 2.3 million construction workers. Unfortunately, a large number of those workers are injured or killed each year in preventable New York scaffolding accidents.
According to OSHA estimates, protecting construction workers from preventable scaffolding accidents could save 50 lives per year and prevent 4,500 injuries. In monetary terms, the same preventative measures could save American employers approximately $90 million annually by avoiding the lost work days that otherwise would result from accidents.
Common Scaffold Hazards
Most scaffolding injuries are the result of falls, which often result from the following hazards:
- Missing guard rails or toe boards
- Missing or defective platform planks
- Slippery platforms
- Improper access (for instance, climbing on a scaffold's railings instead of a ladder)
- Falling objects
Injuries can also occur when scaffolds collapse or are unstable due to structural flaws or faulty assembly. Hazards of this type often include:
- Failure to properly secure a scaffold to the building
- Missing or improperly installed base plates
- Missing braces or cross-bracing
- Broken pins
- Overloaded scaffolding
In addition, scaffolds create a risk of injury by falling objects such as building materials, tools or equipment. Where scaffolding is built too close to nearby power lines, the risk of electrocution is also a concern.
Assemblers and Dismantlers Face Heightened Risk
While any construction worker who works on, under or near scaffolding is at risk of being injured by a fall, scaffolding collapse or falling object, the workers who assemble and dismantle scaffolds are at a particular risk of injury. Because these individuals must work on scaffolds before they are complete, they are more likely to be injured in a fall or collapse than other workers.
Whether the accident is the result of falls or structural flaws, employers can prevent most scaffolding injuries by implementing proper safety procedures and making an effort to ensure that all workers are properly trained in scaffolding safety.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a construction accident, an experienced New York personal injury attorney can fight for your rights and may be able to help obtain a settlement for your injury. Contact a New York personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and find out what options may be available to you.