Scaffolding is used frequently on job sites across New York, whether the job involves simple home repairs or building a 50-story skyscraper. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that 2.3 million construction workers—or roughly two out of every three people employed in the field—work on scaffolds. But scaffolds can also be dangerous, as they involve heights, narrow catwalks, and heavy equipment. About 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths are recorded as a result of scaffolding-related accidents every year.
We will examine some of the common scaffolding hazards workers are likely to encounter, the types of injuries they may suffer when proper safety measures aren’t taken, and the kind of compensation those workers may be owed once they’ve been injured.
Common Scaffolding Hazards
Four common scaffolding hazards include:
- Falls. Falls can occur when guardrails aren’t implemented or are implemented improperly, or when personal fall arrest systems aren’t employed. OSHA requires that fall protection be used whenever work heights reach or exceed 10 feet, while individual contractors often require fall protection for anything above six feet.
- Scaffold collapse. Scaffolds must be built to proper safety specifications, which take into account their height, the amount of weight they’re expected to carry, and how workers will use them. Without sufficiently stable foundations, plank placement, and tie-ins connecting the scaffold to the work surface, the risk of collapse and subsequent injury is significant.
- Falling material. Improperly secured tools and building materials can cause serious injuries if they fall onto workers standing below the scaffolding.
- Electrocution. A minimum distance of 10 feet must be maintained between the scaffold and any electrical hazard. When this minimum distance is impossible, the electrical hazard in question must be insulated or otherwise de-energized by the utility company.
Types of Injuries Workers Could Suffer
Common types of injuries resulting from scaffolding accidents include:
- Fractures/broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries/paralysis
- Organ injury
Compensation Workers Could Be Owed
Generally speaking, workers who have been injured on the job can receive compensation in the form of these four benefits:
- Medical coverage for the costs of all necessary treatments arising from the worker’s injury
- Wage compensation, otherwise known as disability benefits, for a predetermined percentage of the pay the worker is missing by not being able to work
- Vocational rehabilitation, in the form of career counseling or job training, if the worker is unable to resume their previous employment
- Death benefits, to compensate a worker’s family if that worker dies as a result of their job-related injuries
In certain instances, an injured worker may also file a civil lawsuit against a negligent employer to recover damages for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of their workplace injury.
How a Construction Accident Lawyer Could Help
If you’ve been injured on the job, an experienced New York construction accident lawyer at The Mandel Law Firm can fight to ensure you and your family get the money you’re owed during this difficult time. Our team has extensive experience helping workers like you get the workers’ compensation benefits or file third-party injury claims to get the fair compensation you need and deserve. We’re here to help you rebuild your life and get back on your feet.
If a scaffold accident has injured you, don’t wait until it is too late to get the money you’re owed. Our consultations are 100% free, and we’ll be ready to discuss your rights and legal options. Contact us today for your free case evaluation by calling (646) 779-1441 or by reaching out to us online.