Scaffolds are some of the most useful — and dangerous — devices you’ll find at a Pennsylvania construction site. These devices allow workers to perform tasks at great, multi-story heights, while they benefit from a secure and stable working surface. Nevertheless, any time a worker is more than six feet off the ground, he or she runs the risk of falling and suffering from a life-threatening injury.
Due to the risk of falling from the scaffold — and the risk of objects falling and hitting people below — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created clear scaffold safety guidelines that all workers need to be trained to understand and follow. When these guidelines are carefully adhered to, workers stand a significantly reduced chance of getting hurt or killed while working with a scaffold.
Here’s what OSHA says in a slide presentation about the most important scaffold-safety requirements:
— Workers should only use a scaffold that can support four times its maximum load.
— Scaffolds should only be used with protection netting set up to catch falling tools and debris that could hurt people below.
— Workers on scaffolds must be careful to keep their tools and other materials securely tied down to the scaffold so they won’t fall below.
— Workers should use safety harnesses and fall prevention systems to prevent the risk of falling or being blown from the scaffold.
— Scaffolds should only be positioned with at least 10 feet of clearance from electrical lines to avoid electrocution risks.
— Workers should always install fall prevention guardrails on their scaffolds. Furthermore, workers should not lean on or past the guardrails while working, and if the guardrails must be removed to load the scaffold, workers should replace them immediately.
— The support ties that keep the scaffold together are not ladders and workers should never stand on them.
— Scaffolds must be securely tied to the building to add stability and prevent wobbliness and the threat of a collapse.
— A designated and specially trained worker must always be present to supervise and inspect the scaffold during assembly.
— If the scaffold is mobile and needs to be moved to a new position, all workers should exit the scaffold before repositioning it.
Were you hurt while using a scaffold? If you suffered an injury on a scaffold at work, the circumstances of the injury do not matter. You are probably covered by workers’ compensation insurance and may be able to seek valuable benefits to pay for your medical care and time spent unable to work.