Working on a construction site brings with it inevitable dangers. However, you and your employer can minimize these dangers by following proper safety protocols at job sites. Unfortunately, many construction employers fail to take steps to adequately protect workers. This is particularly true when workers must rely upon scaffolding structures and work-related injuries, including those to the back, head and spinal cord, are still quite common.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that enhancing safety standards for construction workers who use scaffolding could help reduce the 4,500 or so injuries and about 60 fatalities linked to scaffolds each year. Many construction workers, building erectors, dismantlers, and others rely on scaffolds or elevated short-term work platforms to perform job duties every day, but they pose specific industry risks for employees.
The risk of electrocution
If you or others on your job site fail to exercise extreme care when erecting your scaffolds, they may be erected too closely to power lines. If you or part of the equipment you are using on your scaffold comes in contact with power lines, you run the risk of electrocution.
The risk of a serious fall
Falls are a common cause of scaffolding-related accidents and injuries. While anyone who works above the ground faces hazards relating to falling, the temporary nature of scaffolds can make them especially dangerous, and particularly if they are not set up properly.
The risk of a falling object striking you
While working on top of scaffolding is inherently dangerous, so, too, is working underneath or nearby scaffolding. Tools and debris can fall from the platform, endangering those below, and anyone standing on top or underneath scaffolding also runs the risk of injury should the platform give way and collapse.
While this is not an exhaustive list of all possible scaffolding-related injuries, these are some of the most common suffered by today’s construction workers. Recognizing where your risks lie may help you learn to reduce them and better protect yourself.