Scaffolding accidents may lead to serious injuries or death for workers, but there are things they can do to avoid such incidents and improve their safety.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 65 percent of construction workers use scaffolds. Unfortunately, scaffolding accidents are all too common, and may lead to serious injuries or death. Not all such incidents can be prevented, however, there are things construction workers can do to help ensure their safety when they are working on scaffolds.
Complete a training course
Workers in New York who use scaffolds must complete a 16-hour training course, according to the New York City Department of Buildings. During these programs, they may be educated on how to properly maintain and use scaffolds, as well as how to look out for potential safety hazards. This may help prevent some construction site accidents.
Inspect scaffolds prior to use
Although scaffolds should only be designed and erected by trained professionals, they should still be checked by workers before being used. People are advised to make sure the scaffolding is not damaged or altered, and to replace any pieces that are worn or in disrepair. Additionally, workers should look for other hazards, including debris, cords and tools.
Wear the appropriate gear
All workers on construction sites should wear the appropriate protective gear, but this may be especially important for those who work on scaffolding. People who work in such environments should wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles and hard hats. Furthermore, they should wear comfortably fitting clothing that is not too loose. This may help avoid their clothes getting stuck on equipment or tools, which could lead to a serious accident and on-the-job injuries.
Use the safety equipment
When they are working on scaffolding, people should use all of the available safety precautions. This includes ensuring that the appropriate guardrails are in place. Construction workers should also wear safety harnesses to help prevent them from falling a significant distance off of a scaffold.
Do not overload
Scaffolds have different load capacities depending on their size, height and other factors. It is recommended that workers refrain from putting more than the recommended weight on these apparatuses. Doing so could compromise their integrity and lead to scaffolding collapses or other accidents.
Keep the work area clear
There is limited space on most scaffolds, especially when they are being used by multiple workers. It is important for people to keep their tools, equipment and other items to the side and out of their work areas when they are working on scaffolding. Doing so may keep them from tripping over, slipping on or getting their foot caught in these items, which may prevent them from falling off of the scaffold.
Obtaining legal representation
When New York workers are injured in scaffolding accidents, they may require significant medical treatment and time off of work to recover. Although they may be entitled to workers' compensation for their injuries, the process of obtaining these benefits is not always straightforward. Therefore, it may be helpful for people who have been injured while working on scaffolds to seek legal counsel. An attorney may help protect their rights and guide them through the claims process.