Scaffolding Accident Lawyer
Scaffolding Accidents & Injuries According to OSHA
Working on and around scaffolding can be very dangerous. This is why the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has pages of regulations that apply specifically to scaffolding accidents. See 29 CFR 1926.450 et. seq. If you have been injured due to a scaffolding accident or collapse, contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. for a free consultation. (713) 932-0777.
Some of the hazards that workers face when working around scaffolding include:
- Scaffolding collapse
- Falling off the scaffolding
- Injury or death due to tools, or items falling from scaffolding
- Electrocution due to contact with powerlines or improper grounding and/or faulty equipment when welding from scaffolding
OSHA specifically requires employers to have a qualified person train all employees regarding these hazards before allowing them to work around scaffolding. 29 CFR 1926.454(a) Time is often of the essence in determining the cause of these events, thus, hiring an attorney to investigate your injury promptly may be critical to your case.
A scaffolding collapse can occur for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons scaffolding collapses are:
- Failure to properly erect the scaffolding
- Using improper platforms
- Failure to properly secure the uprights
- Failure to anchor the unrights
- Overloading the scaffolding with people, tools and equipment
Sadly, all of the above incidents are preventable if people simply follow the OSHA regulations. Under OSHA, there are specific rules detailing how scaffolding must be constructed and used whether it is a supported scaffold, a suspended scaffold or an aerial lift.
Typical supported scaffolding is the type of scaffolding most often seen around low to medium-sized buildings. It is used in construction, painting and other work where reaching a high area, wall or ceiling is necessary. OSHA sets forth many regulations specifically for this scaffolding including:
- Each platform must have no space between the platform and uprights of over 1 inch unless side brackets or odd-shaped structures require a wider opening. 29 CFR 1926.451(b)(1)
- Each planking must support at least 4x the intended load and its own weight. 29 CFR 1926.451(a)(1)
- The platform cannot be clutter with debris. 29 CFR 1926.451(f)(13)
- Platform walkways must be 18 in wide or more 29 CFR 1926.451(b)(2)
- Both guardrails and personal fall arrest systems must be used at all times. 29 CFR 1926.451(b)(2)
- There must be guardrails on all open sides and ends before use. 29 CFR 1926.451(g)(4)(i)
- Neither steel nor plastic banding may be used as a toprail or midrail. 29 CFR 1926.451(g)(4)(iii)
- If stilts are used, the guardrails must be increased by the same height as the stilts. 29 CFR 1926.452(y)
With all this regulation, it seems like scaffolding collapses would be an extremely rare occurrence. However, a guideline is only as good as the people who enforce it. If your employer is not enforcing the guidelines to maintain a safe work place and you are injured as a result, you may have legal recourse. Call us today regarding your scaffolding collapse injury.
Suspension Scaffolding Failure
A suspension scaffold is a scaffold that is made up of one or more platforms that are suspended by ropes or other non-rigid means from an overhead structure. Window cleaners for skyscrapers use these to clean the windows. The scaffolding can be moved up and down on pulleys and ropes or cables that attach to the roof of the building. This type of scaffolding is very regulated sue to the extreme danger of falling. Regardless of how “secure the suspension scaffold may seem, OSHA requires fall protection be used at all times while working on suspension scaffolding.
Suspension scaffolds have their requirements from OSHA, including:
- All support devices must rest on surfaces capable of supporting at least four times the load imposed on them by the scaffold when operating at the rated load of the hoist, or at least one-and-a-half times the load imposed on them by the scaffold at the stall capacity of the hoist, whichever is greater. 29 CFR 1926.451(d)(1)
- A competent person must evaluate all direct connections prior to use to confirm that the supporting surfaces are able to support the imposed load. 29 CFR 1926.451(d)(3)(i)
- All suspension scaffolds must be secured to prevent them from swaying. 29 CFR 1926.451(d)(18)
- Guardrails, a personal fall-arrest system, or both must protect each employee more than 10 feet (3.1 m) above a lower level from falling. 29 CFR 1926.451(g)
- A competent person must inspect ropes for defects prior to and after each workshift. 29 CFR 1926.451(d)(10)
- When using direct access, the surface must not be more than 24 inches (61 cm) above or 14 inches (36 cm) horizontally from the surface. 29 CFR 1926.451€(8)
- When lanyards are connected to horizontal lifelines or structural members on single-point or two-point adjustable scaffolds, the scaffold must have additional independent support lines equal in number and strength to the suspension lines and have automatic locking devices. 29 CFR 1926.451(g)(3)(iii)
- Emergency escape and rescue devices must not be used as working platforms, unless designed to function as suspension scaffolds and emergency systems. 29 CFR 1926.451(d)(19)
- No stilts, ladders, boxes, barrels or other materials may be used to increase the height on a suspension scaffold. 29 CFR 1926.451(f)(14-15)
If you are injured due to a suspension scaffold giving away or a fall because your employer failed to provide fall protection, you need to speak to a scaffolding accident attorney at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. immediately. Call us.
Avoiding Electrocution Accidents With Scaffolding
Electrocution accidents can occur in several ways when using scaffolding. If the structure is stable but constructed too close to power lines or electrical wiring, the scaffolding and/or works on the platforms may come into contact. This was the case in the substantial work injury settlement recovered by Keith M. Fletcher on behalf of his client.
Additionally, welding accidents can result in electric shock injuries and electrocution if the proper procedures are not followed and the equipment and scaffolding appropriately grounded. OSHA defines exactly when and how welding from scaffolding may be done in 29 CFR 1926.451(f)(17). Failure to follow proper OSHA standards is strong evidence that an employer was not conforming to the appropriate industry standards. If you were hurt due to your employer failing to follow OSHA guidelines, you should seek a consultation with a scaffolding accident attorney to discuss your legal rights. Call (713) 932-0777 to schedule your free consultation today.
Falls from Scaffolding & Elevated Platforms
OSHA requires that all persons using scaffolding utilize some sort of fall protection: either a personal fall arrest system or guardrails or both. It is the employers nondelegable duty to ensure that the work place is safe. This includes providing the proper fall protection. Despite this fact, falls from heights is still the number 1 cause of construction site deaths according to OSHA. If the rules are followed, a fall should never occur.
Talk to a Scaffolding Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured due to faulty scaffolding, falls from scaffolding, items falling from scaffolding or electrocution while working on scaffolding, contact our scaffolding accident lawyers for a free consultation. Some employers provide worker’s compensation to insulate themselves from liability. However, this may not shield them if it is fake workers comp or when the employer has been grossly negligent. Furthermore, if there is a third-party such as another company, property owner or non-employee involved in the incident, they may be liable for causing your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation at (713) 932-0777. We charge no fees unless we make a recovery in your case.