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Types of Scaffolding Accidents

By Butler Prather LLP on September 24, 2019

Scaffolding is necessary at many construction sites and repair projects. Scaffolding is typically constructed before the project even begins and remains in place for the entire during of a construction project, with some minor alterations along the way. However, there are times when scaffolding accidents occur and cause serious injuries to construction workers and bystanders nearby. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict guidelines in place regulating scaffolding construction, but this does not prevent all accidents.

Scaffolding Accidents

How do scaffolding accidents occur?

There are various ways in which injuries arise from scaffolding. Scaffolding that is poorly constructed, used old materials, poorly maintained, overloaded, and fails to comply with OSHA rules all cause serious injuries. These can include:

  • Injuries due to falls from the scaffolding. Some of the most serious injuries occur when a worker falls from a scaffolding, especially when the scaffolding is high off the ground. These incidents are likely to cause catastrophic injuries and have an increased likelihood of death.
  • Injuries caused by objects falling from the scaffolding. All objects used by construction workers should be properly used and secured on scaffolding. Falling objects can strike workers and bystanders below.
  • Injuries caused by slip and trips on the scaffolding. Slips and trips on scaffolding could be caused by bad weather or objects out of place on the platforms. These slips and trips can cause injuries on their own and can also lead to falls from the scaffolding.
  • Injuries caused by scaffolding collapse. Scaffolding collapses are very dangerous and involve the total failure of the scaffold. A collapse can be caused by the poor construction of the scaffold, bad weather, or the scaffolding being struck by vehicles or other heavy machinery. A scaffold collapse is dangerous for workers as well as bystanders below.

What are the most common scaffolding injuries?

Scaffold collapse injuries can range in severity. It is not uncommon for us to see the following injuries after a scaffolding incident:

  • Spinal cord injuries including paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or punctures
  • Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Amputations

Each of these injuries requires extensive medical attention. Not only will this lead to major medical bills, but the injured person may not be able to work while they recover. Lost income could jeopardize the financial stability of their family. If a scaffold accident victim is disabled, they may require lifelong care.

Can a construction worker get compensation for a scaffolding injury?

Workers’ compensation insurance is usually what is used to cover injuries that happen in the workplace, but that may not be enough to cover scaffold injury expenses. If the scaffold incident was caused by gross negligence on the part of the construction company or a third-party, an attorney will work to secure further compensation an injured worker may be entitled to. When an employer exposes their workers to unnecessary risks, they should be held accountable for their actions.

What if a non-worker bystander is injured?

If a bystander is injured due to scaffolding incidents, they should secure an attorney and explore the possibility of a premises liability injury. Construction companies are required to ensure that bystanders are safe during the course of the construction project. This includes taking steps to protect bystanders from objects that could fall from the scaffolding.

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