Unstable scaffolds can cause devastating construction accidents

Working on scaffolding structures is nothing strange in the construction industry. Because it is so common, workers and employers become complacent, and sometimes neglect to take the necessary care. Scaffold-related construction accidents have cause many serious injuries and even some fatalities in Arizona. Safety guidelines must be followed throughout, starting when the structure is erected.

A stable and rigid footing is required, and the use of barrels, bricks or other supports must be avoided. Appropriate planking must be able to carry four times the load they will have to support. This means that the number of workers who will be on the scaffold along with the weight of tools and building materials must be determined even before the structure is built. If ropes, cables or wires support scaffolds, those materials must be strong enough to carry six times the load weight.

Hazards for workers on scaffolds include slippery, oily or wet surfaces that could cause slip-and-fall accidents, scattered tools over which workers could trip, and adverse weather conditions like snow, rain or high winds. Unstable structures that are not level are hazardous, and scaffolds should never be moved while workers are on them. The required personal protective equipment as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration must be worn. This includes a fall harness with a secure anchor point to arrest a fall, a hard hat and a life vest if the scaffold is over water.

When proper procedures are not followed, devastating construction accidents can occur. Resulting injuries could be life-changing. Injured workers can usually rely on the Arizona workers' compensation insurance program to pay their medical bills and replace a portion of their lost wages. Legal counsel could assist with the complicated process of claiming benefits.

Source: work.chron.com, "Safety Precautions on Scaffoldings", Cynthia Myers, Accessed on May 25, 2018

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