When you make your living working in construction, you face more on-the-job hazards than many of your peers. Some of these risks have the capacity to result in severe, long-term injuries and in some cases, even death. Working on or around scaffolding, or temporary work platforms positioned at varying heights above the ground, is particularly dangerous, with scaffolding-related accidents causing an alarming number of injuries and fatalities every year.
Today’s scaffolds come in several different designs, with some of the more common being platforms supported by the ground and scaffolds suspended from above. Both pose certain risks and hazards, although many of the most serious scaffolding accidents involve construction workers falling from substantial heights. Just what types of injuries might you experience in the wake of a scaffolding accident?
Working from heights presents certain inherent risks, but your employer has a duty to mitigate your fall risks and protect you as much as possible. Falls from scaffolds can result when a lack of fall protection exists, and falls can also occur when scaffolds bear too much weight and collapse underneath workers.
While working on top of scaffolds is always dangerous, so, too, is working beneath them. If improperly secured, tools, equipment and debris can fall from scaffolds, potentially striking anyone working below in the head or another part of the body.
Construction workers must also exercise extreme care in terms of exactly where they erect their scaffolds. If they erect or suspend them too close to nearby power lines, they run the risk of electrocution and related injuries.
As someone who regularly has to rely on scaffolds in your work environment, know that you have the right to feel safe and protected when you show up to work. If you have concerns about whether proper safety practices and protocols are in place at your workplace, do not hesitate to voice them.