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Understanding scaffolding deaths

Construction workers in Pennsylvania may benefit from learning more about the risks present at the workplace as described by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. According to data published by multiple agencies, falls were the leading cause of occupational deaths in 1992, accounting for around 9 percent of the reported incidents. Among the reported falls, scaffolding incidents accounted for approximately 19 percent of the deaths. Suspension scaffolds may have accounted for almost one third of these occupational fatalities.

The majority of scaffolding falls may have been attributable to equipment failure. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that out of 25 scaffolding deaths, only three of the decedents were using fall protection equipment. However, none of these workers actually used the equipment properly. Scaffolding accidents often involved workers falling down multiple stories to their death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration first proposed regulations to protect these workers during 1971.

These regulations focused on construction, access, fall protection and allowable capacity when using scaffolding equipment. OSHA regulations finalized in 1992 also require a competent person to inspect scaffolds and scaffolding equipment before they are used at the workplace. Employers are also expected to use the appropriate scaffolding equipment that is capable of safely holding the employee and their workload. OSHA also requires businesses to use guardrails and a harness system or body belt when working with suspension scaffolds.

Employees who suffer an injury from a construction accident but are unable to obtain adequate coverage may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be able to assist construction workers with injuries caused by heavy lifting, repetitive motions, collapsing trenches, chemical exposure or a falling incident. Legal representation may help these people obtain adequate medical coverage and improved safety protocols at the workplace as well.

Source: CDC, "Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths Caused by Falls From Suspension Scaffolds", October 28, 2014

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Krasno Krasno & OnwudinjoWhen You Need A Workers' Compensation Or Social Security Attorney
Serving Philadelphia Since 1936

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