It’s hard to walk even a few blocks in NYC without seeing scaffolding surrounding the outside of a construction site. Though scaffolding is common and necessary for many work sites, federal law requires that it must always be professionally installed and secured to assure every user’s safety.
The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Administration (OSHA) reports that 65 percent of the U.S. construction industry — 2.3 million workers, work on scaffolding as part of their normal work duties. Scaffolding is clearly an integral part of the urban construction industry but it can create dangerous work environments.
For example, there were over 50 deaths caused by scaffolding and staging accidents in 2009. Most of the accidents were attributed to the planking or support collapsing, slips and falls or being struck by falling objects.
We all know that the coming the summer months means loads of construction in New York City so its especially important now for our construction workers to stay vigilant with safety. OSHA has published scaffolding standards in the general construction industry that can help keep workers safe this summer! Below are some tips for workers when considering scaffolding installation and use:
Be sure the installer is qualified. A qualified installer can design and load scaffolds in accordance with the specific design and can train employees working on scaffolds to recognize the associated hazards and suggest ways to minimize them.
Seek proper training. All employees must be trained in safe scaffolding use and be able to spot potential dangers and their causes. If a safety training course is available, enroll.
Know the capacity requirements. Scaffolding and its components must not be loaded in excess of their maximum intended loads or rated capacity, whichever is less.
Secure the walkway space. Each scaffold platform and walkway must be at least 18 inches wide. In cases where that is not possible, guardrails and/or a personal fall arrest system must be used.
Use proper judgment. In anticipation of high winds and inclement weather, check for weather advisories before working on elevated platforms. Remember; a day of work is never worth the risk of a serious or fatal injury.
Scaffolding is oftentimes an essential part of most projects, but improper use or installation can create a dangerous environment. Following these safety tips and consulting the many free online safety resources about scaffolding may help save you from becoming another construction injury statistic.
In the unfortunate event that you or someone that you know is injured in a scaffolding accident make sure to call The Law Office of Richard Kenny today! We have a special passion and understanding for the construction industry given that our founding partner, Richard Kenny worked full time as a NYC unionized construction worker while he put himself through law school at nights. Our attorneys have over 50 years of experience on these types of cases and we will fight for you like no one else will. We urge you to protect your legal rights and find out more about what you can do about your accident with a free consultation with our office today.