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Common scaffolding hazards in construction

Thousands of construction workers are injured every year in Pennsylvania and across the country. A large number of accidents causing debilitating or fatal injuries are from falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are many ways to slip or trip and fall on the job, but scaffolding accidents are among the most prevalent in the construction industry.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory has outlined numerous guidelines on scaffolding safety, as described by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Many workers who are injured in scaffolding accidents are improperly trained or fail to implement safety standards. There are ways to address the common types of scaffolding incidents that can dramatically improve worker safety.

To reduce the risk of falls, employees should ensure the walking surface on a scaffold is fully planked and install a guardrail. Scaffolds should not be overloaded or constructed on an unstable surface, to avoid a collapse. Electrocution can be avoided if electrical cables or wires are kept at a distance from the scaffold or the power turned off. Measures should be taken to prevent objects from falling on workers by barricading the area around a scaffolding structure or building a net or canopy to catch falling objects.

It is estimated that 4,500 accidents and 50 lives can be saved every year if the proper safety standards are observed regarding scaffolding. Most people who are injured on the job are covered by workers’ compensation. It may be necessary to involve an attorney during the claims or appeals process.

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