If you work in construction, or work in another job where you must rely on scaffolding, or must rely on temporary, elevated platforms, you face unique on-the-job dangers that can result in a serious injury. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, roughly 65 percent of Americans in the construction industry regularly use scaffolds. If companies could learn to protect their workers from scaffolding-involved accidents, they could save about 60 lives and prevent about 4,500 injuries every year.
Just how do scaffolds endanger America's workforce?
Scaffolding-related accident causes
Many scaffolding accidents stem from similar circumstances, so learning to recognize where the dangers lie may help you or your employer work to avoid them. Anytime you work at an elevated height, you run the risk of suffering a fall, and the same holds true when you work on scaffolding. You may simply fall off the scaffold accidently, or you may fall because the scaffold itself collapses due to weight or a lack of stability.
Your risk of suffering a serious injury increases considerably if you are not wearing proper protective equipment at the time of your fall. However, falls are not the only way you can injure yourself by working on or near scaffolding. If you erect your scaffolds too close to, say, power lines, you run the risk of electrocuting yourself. Worknng underneath scaffolds is also inherently dangerous. Why? Becuse in addition to the possibility that the scaffold could collapse on you, there is also a very real risk that tools, materials and even your co-workers working above you could fall off these platforms, striking you and causing serious injuries.
Reducing your risk
If you currently make your living as a construction worker, painter, erector, dismantler or in another role that frequently relies on scaffolding, know that your employer has an obligation to protect you to the fullest extent possible. You, too, can reduce your on-the-job injury risk by following safety protocols and consistently making sure to wear proper protective equipment and gear.