According to the Bureau of Labor and OSHA, as many as 2.3 million construction workers (65 percent of the construction industry) work off of scaffolding regularly. Of those who do work on scaffolding, as many as 4,500 will be injured and 60 will lose their lives from a scaffolding accident. Of those construction workers involved in scaffold accidents, about 72 percent said the accident was caused by the support (planking) giving way or because they slipped or were struck by a falling object. Despite the fact that a number of scaffold safety standards exist, these accidents continue to occur.
Scaffolding Accidents Can Be Deadly
Over a decade ago, a New York scaffold accident on the Upper East Side caused the death of two brothers. The scaffold—which was later determined to be defectively constructed—collapsed, from 47 stories up. Since that time, there have been a number of scaffold accidents which resulted in death and serious injury. As an example, a construction worker in 2014 fell 80 feet to his death from improperly constructed scaffolding. On the face, it would seem that better practices and more comprehensive safety training programs would significantly reduce the number of scaffold accidents. Despite advances in safety practices, there seems to be no corresponding decrease in scaffolding accidents.
Scaffolding Requirements Frequently Violated
OSHA has revised its scaffold standards, and believes that agencies who follow the new standards could reduce the number of scaffolding accidents significantly—saving up to 50 lives per year and preventing as many as 4,500 scaffolding accidents. In fact, OSHA’s current scaffolding regulations now cover virtually every aspect of the use of scaffolding in construction jobs. Unfortunately, scaffolding requirements happen to be the number three most-violated regulation. In other words, non-compliance on the part of construction companies are a major problem. Unless OSHA is onsite, the majority of these non-compliance scaffolding issues go unnoticed until a tragedy occurs.
What Does OSHA Require for Scaffolding?
As an example of the new OSHA scaffolding standards, scaffolding must be able to support their own weight as well as 4 times the maximum intended load. This rule is to prevent the collapse of scaffolding. The tiebacks on a suspended scaffold must be secured to a structurally sound anchor on the building, and on supported scaffolding, each platform must be fully planted or decked with no gaps greater than an inch wide. Guardrail supports and railing must be in place, and workers must be cautioned against climbing cross-bracing on supported scaffolding.
If You Have Been Injured in a Scaffolding Accident, Don’t Wait to Contact an Attorney
Those who have suffered a scaffolding accident should, of course, immediately receive medical attention. Depending on the extent of the injuries, a workers’ comp claim could be necessary, as well as speaking to a knowledgeable scaffolding accident attorney to ensure rights are protected. The safety of scaffolding and the safety of the workers on any construction site are the responsibility of the employer or contractor in charge. The supervisors and managers on the job must ensure proper materials are used to construct the scaffolding and that erection standards are met. Further, scaffolding must be inspected on a regular basis to ensure the safety of all workers.
Because scaffolding accidents can be so severe, it is important to prove company liability so that medical expenses and lost wages can be compensated. Many of those who fall off scaffolding can have their lives changed forever. Brain trauma and spinal cord injuries are extremely likely in a scaffolding accident fall, and these types of injuries can result in lifelong medical expenses.
Contact Our Construction Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident in Oregon, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. You may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits and file a third party lawsuit. As such, it is important to seek legal assistance immediately. Keith Dozier and his associates have successfully recovered millions for injured accident victims in Portland, Vancouver, Lake Oswego, Salem, and throughout the state of Oregon. Call us today at (503) 594-0333 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Don’t wait—contact an experienced Oregon personal injury attorney who is experienced in scaffolding accidents.