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Scaffold-related accidents at the workplace and OSHA

An estimated two-thirds of construction workers in Texas and around the country use scaffolds or similar equipment on a regular basis, according to a report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Acaffold-related accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries or death to workers. Injuries not only occur when a worker falls from an unsafe, incorrectly installed or defective scaffold equipment, but also when heavy objects fall from scaffolds, ladders and lifts and from a lack of proper safety equipment. OSHA has a strict set of rules and regulations regarding the use of scaffolds in the workplace. Employers and all of their employees must strictly adhere to these regulations, some of which address the inspection and construction of scaffolds.

Employers should select a capable individual to be in charge of inspecting all the company's scaffolds and its parts, particularly searching for any obvious defects. Anytime the equipment will be used, the inspection must take place beforehand and at every work shift. Furthermore, a capable individual must oversee any scaffold that is altered, moved, taken apart or constructed. There should also be an inspection of the worker's protective equipment parts such as lanyards and body belts. Any equipment that shows damage or wear must be immediately replaced.

The scaffold's construction and design must also comply with all of OSHA standards. These rules apply to the use, construction methods, rated capacities and type of equipment. OSHA requires that every scaffold and its parts be strong enough to support a weight load no less than four times its weight, and the suspension ropes must each be able to hold no less than six times its maximum projected load.

Notwithstanding all the precautions, regulations and codes an employer may follow, a construction accident can still take place, resulting in severe injuries. Those who have been injured in such an accident may wish to speak to a workers' compensation attorney to determine whether coverage and benefits are available.

Source: FindLaw, "Scaffold Injuries", October 08, 2014

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