Many employees throughout New York frequently must perform work on a scaffold. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 65 percent of people in the construction industry spend at least some time on scaffolding. This is around 2.3 million construction workers.
A scaffolding accident attorney knows that some of these workers are involved in tragic accidents that cause injuries or even fatalities. There are around 4,500 scaffolding injuries and 60 fatalities every year, and the cost of lost workdays and other expenditures exceeds $90 million annually. The majority of scaffolding accidents occur either because the employee slips and falls or because the planking and/or support that holds up the scaffolding gives way.
OSHA has numerous regulations in place to try to protect workers when a scaffolding accident happens. Employers and employees need to be aware of the safety rules and follow them at all times to try to avoid injury and death due to problems with scaffolds.
Preventing Scaffolding Accidents
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has had regulations to protect workers from scaffolding dangers since 1971. Despite having myriad regulations, accidents continue to happen as a result of:
- Scaffolding equipment that is not installed correctly.
- Scaffolding equipment that is not operated properly.
- Scaffolding equipment that is defective in design or manufacture.
- Inadequate training of workers who are performing their jobs on the scaffolding.
- Failure to use all required fall protection equipment at all times when working on scaffolding.
OSHA has many rules related to scaffolding found in 29 Code of Federal Regulations Section 1926 Subpart L. In fact, this entire section is devoted to the issue of scaffolding safety.
OSHA's regulations address many different issues. There are general requirements for personal fall protection equipment, as well as requirements specific to aerial lifts and additional requirements for varying types of scaffolding. OSHA also provides non-mandatory guidelines that help employers to ensure they are complying with obligations and imposes training requirements on employers who have workers do their jobs on scaffolding.
Appendix E of the Code Section regulating scaffolding has a sample fall protection plan that shows employers the types of things that should be included when designing company protocols to protect workers who do their jobs on scaffolding. The plan suggests employers should identify:
- The types of fall protection systems that will be used on each project.
- A designated safety monitor, who should be identified through the use of a different color hard hat.
- Designated erectors who have appropriate training, skills and experience.
- The safety monitoring system to be used.
- A system to establish a clearly-marked control zone.
These are just a few of the many parts of a comprehensive fall protection plan employers should create whenever scaffolding is necessary on a job site. By following OSHA regulations and best practices, employees can help to keep their workers safe to avoid tragic scaffolding accidents.
If you have suffered an injury in New York, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717 or by visiting http://www.workerslaw.com.