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How Can Construction Workers Reduce Scaffold Accidents?

Scaffold accidents continue to plague construction workers. A scaffold is an elevated temporary platform that is used to support workers and materials at a construction site. A scaffold is generally used when the work can not be completed while on the ground or if it is unsafe to use another method like a ladder. Scaffolds are a necessary component of almost any construction site and are utilized for may different types of projects. They will remain an essential safety device to help workers complete construction jobs.

However, statistics show that construction accidents involving scaffolding are too frequent and very hazardous. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries(CFOI) released that there were 54 reported fatalities in 2009 because of scaffold accidents. So, if they are not going anywhere, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure they are used in the safest ways possible.

How do most scaffold accidents occur? The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents claimed the accident was the result of the support surface giving way, the worker slipping or a worker being struck by a falling object. Scaffolds can also collapse or tip.

As an experienced Construction Accident Law Firm, the trial lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have handled serious injury cases from a scaffold accident just like what the Bureau of Labor Statistics is alluding to. How can we prevent scaffold accidents at construction sites? OSHA provides some guidance and below is a sampling of some of the more important guidelines.

Scaffolds must have sound footing and anchorage.

Scaffolds must be capable of supporting the load without becoming unsteady or unstable. They recommend that a scaffold be able to support 4x the maximum intended weight.

Scaffolds should not be altered or moved while in use by workers.

Scaffolds in disrepair must not be used until they are safely and completely repaired.

Scaffolds must be safely constructed and inspected before being used· There must be overhead protection to protect against falling objects.

An access ladder should be provided to allow workers a safe way to get on and off the scaffold.

Scaffolds should not be worked on during storms or high wind conditions· Appropriate guard rails shall be installed before the work begins to reduce instances of falling.

Proper fall protection must be available and used by everyone working on a scaffold.

The Construction Accident Attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy have a long and proud tradition of fighting on behalf of construction workers. The trial lawyers at this firm make up a large part of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association Labor Law Committee, a committee designed to promote and retain the laws that protect construction workers. The Construction Accident Lawyers have a long and proud history, including an impressive array of verdicts and settlements, fighting for innocent injured victims.

To learn more about the firm, please see the firm website at For a free consultation, you may contact us at 212.736.5300.

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