When properly erected, scaffolding provides a safe and stable platform for working off the ground. They are more secure than ladders and allow workers better access to the vertical structure on which they work. Unlike ladders, setting them up is a more complicated task. This leaves more room for mistakes that can make them weak, unstable, and more prone to collapse.
In addition to collapse, OSHA cites falls from elevation, getting struck by falling objects, and electrocution as the most common scaffold hazards. The risk of construction accidents from these hazards is further heightened by the fast work pace in the Bakken field.
Scaffold assembly without supervision by a knowledgeable person can lead to mistakes that leave the structure weak or unstable. These include placing footings on unstable ground, failing to use sufficient cross bracing, and anchoring the scaffold to nonstructural building elements such as drain pipes. Use of damaged, worn, or mismatched parts also make the structure weak. Sometimes on-hand materials are used instead of proper scaffolding parts.
Falls From Elevation
Failure to use guard rails, defective or missing planking, and trip hazards can cause falls from scaffolding. Falls may also occur as the result of improper access to the scaffold or fail to use a fall protection harness when it's required. Harnesses are required on suspended scaffolds, where the rope (that's tied into the harness) must be anchored independently of the scaffold.
Struck by Falling Objects
Panels and screens help prevent workers from dropping objects onto people below them. Netting, hard hats, and keeping people clear of the "fall zone" also prevent injury.
Power lines are strung at a safe height above the ground to protect ground-level people and vehicles. However, workers on scaffolds typically work at these heights and are therefore exposed to electrocution risk. Scaffolds should clear power lines by the safe distances specified by OSHA. Tools, construction materials, and other objects should never extend beyond the scaffold.
If a scaffolding or other construction accident injured you, our lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case evaluation.