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What dangers does construction scaffolding pose?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2020 | Construction Injuries

As a New York construction worker, you unfortunately must conduct much of your work from and around scaffolds. This, in turns, places you at considerable risk of injury. 

FindLaw reports that per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, your greatest likelihood of sustaining a scaffolding injury comes from one of the following causes: 

  • You fall off the scaffold 
  • You get struck by something that falls off the scaffold 
  • You have an insecure means of access to the scaffold 
  • The scaffold’s supports and/or planking fail, plunging you to the ground 

Scaffolding safety precautions 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires your employer to provide you with the following types of personal safety equipment any time you work on a scaffold: 

  • Body belt 
  • Harness 
  • Drop line 
  • Anchor 
  • Trolley line 
  • Lanyard 

In addition, per OSHA, your employer must provide a “competent person” before each shift who will inspect not only your personal safety equipment, but also the scaffold itself. 

In terms of scaffold strength, OSHA requires that it hold a weight four times that of its own weight, plus four times the weight its specifications call for. Furthermore, any suspension ropes your employer provides must be strong enough to hold a minimum of six times whatever weight their specifications call for. 

Your responsibility 

All of these rules and regulations, however, only protect you to the extent that you take them seriously and look after your own safety. For instance, you should never work on a scaffold without the safety equipment provided by your employer. In addition, never stick your head or hands out from under the scaffold while walking under it. Remember, getting hit by something falling off the scaffold represents your second highest danger of receiving a scaffold-related injury.