Injuries Caused by Scaffold Accidents
Scaffolding accidents are the cause of 60 deaths per year and thousands more injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,500 people each year are injured because of scaffolding accidents.  Scaffolding accidents can cause serious injuries and financial losses for victims. Too often, a scaffolding accident could have been prevented by knowing or following safety rules.
Who is legally liable when a scaffolding accident occurs? What should you do if you’re hurt in a scaffolding accident? Our workers’ compensation lawyers explain what you should know about scaffolding accidents and legal liability.
What Are the Main Causes of Deaths and Injuries on Scaffolds?
The leading causes of deaths and injuries on scaffolds are:
- Falling objects on the scaffolding
- Unsecured scaffolding
- Failing to wear adequate safety gear
- Miscommunications between workers
- Collapsed scaffolding
- Scaffolding that does not meet safety standards
- Poor training for workers
How Dangerous Is Scaffolding?
Scaffolding is a serious danger for workers in a variety of industries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports say that scaffolding falls are a leading cause of injury for construction workers. Scaffolding, by its nature, creates an elevated surface. When a fall occurs, or when the scaffolding collapses, an injury can be severe. Scaffolding is dangerous enough to be a leading cause of injury for people who work in construction.
What Is Scaffold Safety?
Scaffold safety is the process that must be used to keep workers safe as they work with scaffolding. Scaffolding safety should address safety in general for all kinds of use as well as safety measures that are unique to the present circumstances.
The scaffolding needs to be secured in place, and work must be performed by persons with the appropriate training, authority, and licenses. In addition, workers need to wear the appropriate safety gear and follow all rules and protocol as they go about their work. Scaffolding safety involves knowing what safety measures are important and implementing those standards during scaffolding work.
How Can Scaffolding Accidents Be Prevented?
Scaffolding accidents can be prevented by paying careful attention to materials and safety protocols involved in scaffolding use. Ropes that are used in scaffolding should be protected from heat sources that can cause tears or frays. Materials and equipment should be regularly inspected. Workers should be careful to know and understand appropriate safety procedures and use safety harnesses and helmets as appropriate. Workers should report violations to correct safety lapses before an accident occurs.
What to Do After a Scaffolding Accident
There are several ways to respond to a scaffolding accident. You might take any or all of the following actions in response to a scaffolding accident:
Reporting the matter to your employer – An important place to start when you’re hurt in a scaffolding accident is to make an accident report to your employer. Workers’ compensation begins when you report the accident or injury. Your employer should take a report that includes the basic details of how the accident occurred and your injuries.
Making a report to OSHA – When you have a safety concern or complaint, you can make a report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Officials from OSHA can investigate violations, issue penalties, and ensure compliance in the future.
Workers’ compensation – When you’re hurt on the job, the workers’ compensation system may provide automatic payment for medical bills and missed work. You claim workers’ compensation directly from your employer. To receive workers’ compensation, you don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent. Instead, it’s simply based on the fact that you got hurt at work.
Third-party lawsuits – In the case of a scaffolding accident, there may be numerous responsible parties. For example, a third-party contractor or even the property owner may have legal liability for a scaffolding accident. Whether or not you have a valid workers’ compensation claim, you may have a valid negligence claim for economic and non-economic damages.
Compensation for a Scaffolding Accident
Compensation for a scaffolding accident begins with understanding how the accident occurred. It starts with determining the cause of the accident and the circumstances of the accident. Looking back to the root causes helps you find the legally responsible party. Your employer, a third-party contractor, a private individual, or the building owner may all be liable for a scaffolding accident. When you determine whose actions put the chain of events in motion that resulted in the accident, you can determine how to claim compensation for your scaffolding injuries.
Whether or not you can claim workers’ compensation for the accident depends on whether you’re on the job at the time of the accident. Generally, if you’re performing your job duties when the accident occurs, you can claim financial compensation under the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation should completely cover your medical bills for as long as you receive care related to the accident. In addition, it should include a certain percentage of lost pay from work and an amount for loss of use if you have injuries that interrupt normal functioning.
Value of a Scaffolding Accident Case
When you bring a third-party claim for compensation, the value of a scaffolding accident claim includes all of the following:
- Emergency medical care, including ambulance transportation and the emergency room
- Cost for wheelchairs, crutches, scooters, and mobility assistance devices in the home
- Physical therapy costs; costs for rehabilitation
- Lost work in the days after the accident
- Long-term career changes if you’re not able to earn the same amount
- Punitive damages (in some circumstances)
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of treatment for mental injuries like PTSD and flashbacks
- Loss of use compensation for adverse changes in lifestyle because of the accident
- Any other financial or emotional losses based on their fair value
A workers’ compensation case is valued differently. An experienced injury attorney can help you understand the value of your case and what’s involved in winning compensation.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Have you been injured in a scaffolding accident? Our attorneys for injury accidents are standing by to take your call. Let us help you approach your case in the right way and seek compensation from all of the avenues that you may deserve. Call us today to begin.
 Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. Safety and Health Topics, Scaffolding. Retrieved 11 November 2019 from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/construction.html
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