Scaffolding accidents may result in serious injuries or death for workers, but there are things they can do when using scaffolds to ensure their safety.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were more than 4,600 work-related deaths in 2014 alone. Many more workers suffered injuries on-the-job. Some occupational injuries and deaths are the result of incidents, including scaffolding accidents. However, there are things employees in Pennsylvania and elsewhere may do to help ensure their safety when using scaffolding.
Adhere to usage guidelines
Generally, scaffolding set ups have specifications for their use. This includes load capacities and other guidelines. It is important for workers to keep these specifications in mind and only use scaffolding as directed.
Inspect scaffolding before using
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that workers always check out scaffolding components before they get on them. Employees should look for defective equipment and pieces that are in disrepair. Additionally, they should inspect the personal fall protection that they should use. By making sure that everything is stable and in working condition may help them avoid some preventable accidents.
Ensure workers are trained
Employees who use and set up scaffolds should receive training regarding the design and operation of this type of equipment. It is advisable that employers make certain their workers know how to properly get on and off scaffolding. Furthermore, they workers should be taught how to properly use fall protection equipment and gear. Only those workers who have been trained should be allowed to erect and dismantle scaffolds.
Scaffolds should be adequately tied to the building or braced in order to ensure their stability. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration points out that unstable objects should not be used to support scaffolds. This includes using bricks, concrete blocks, barrels or boxes.
The space on scaffolds is often limited. Therefore, it is important for workers to store their tools, supplies and other equipment in an orderly fashion. By keeping their work areas free of obstructions, they may help prevent some scaffolding accidents.
Use the appropriate safety equipment
When using scaffolds, workers are often elevated well above the ground. In order to help protect themselves, employees should only use scaffolds that incorporate guardrails. In addition, they should use safety harnesses that are tied to a solid structure when on scaffolding. It is also suggested that those who work on scaffolds wear non-slip footwear, head protection and other personal protection equipment.
Seek legal guidance
As a result of scaffolding accidents, workers in Pennsylvania may suffer serious injuries for which they need extensive medical treatment. While they may be entitled to workers’ compensation, the process of obtaining those benefits is not always straight forward. Thus, it may be helpful for employees who have been injured in accidents involving scaffolding to consult with an attorney. A lawyer may explain their rights, and guide them through the process of obtaining the benefits or compensation they are entitled to.