Work Injury and Scaffolding Falls
August 28, 2018
Construction workers are at a higher risk of being fatally injured on the job than workers in other industries and the number of fatalities on construction sites continues to increase. Approximately 65 percent of construction workers work on scaffolds regularly, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and falls from scaffolds are one of the leading causes of deaths on construction sites.
Scaffolds are temporary work platforms typically used at high elevations. State regulations as well as OSHA’s scaffold safety regulations govern the construction, maintenance and use of scaffolds. Some OSHA scaffold regulations include:
- Scaffolds should not be supported by loose objects
- Workers should be provided with overhead protection
- Scaffolds should be able to support a minimum of four times the maximum intended weight and each suspension rope should support at least six times the maximum intended weight
- Employers should inspect scaffolds and components before each shift to ensure safety
- Worn or damaged equipment should be replaced immediately
- Tools and other materials should not be stored on scaffolds
- Shore scaffolds and lean-to scaffolds are prohibited
Common Scaffold Injuries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 72 percent of workers injured in scaffold accidents were injured because the planking or support gave way, the worker slipped and fell, or the worker was struck by a falling object. Falls and falling objects, both of which commonly occur on scaffolds, are two of the “fatal four” types of construction accidents identified by OSHA.
Violations of health and safety law were found at over 90 percent of fatality sites inspected by OSHA in 2015. According to a New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) report, over 68 percent of all New York construction site inspections revealed safety violations. The NYCOSH report also found that construction worker deaths in New York have been trending upward since 2006, reaching a 14-year record high in 2016.
The current real estate boom in certain parts of the country has created opportunities for developers to reap large profits. Unfortunately, employers sometimes sacrifice employee safety in favor of increased productivity. Recently, a New York construction worker was killed when he was struck in the head with a beam while working on scaffolding at a construction site. This is yet another example of a construction site fatality that could have been prevented by adhering to the appropriate safety regulations.
Liability for Scaffold Accidents
Workers injured in scaffold accidents are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. If a third party such as a contractor, subcontractor or scaffold manufacturer violates relevant OSHA violations or any other generally accepted safety standards, additional compensation may be available. Injured workers may receive various forms of benefits, including compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages and families of deceased workers may receive death benefits, including reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Seek Compensation for Workers Injured in Scaffolding Accidents
If you or your loved one was injured in a scaffold accident, contact the Philadelphia work injury lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey from our offices in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Bethlehem and Reading. Call us at 800-222-8792 or contact us online to discuss your case.