Construction sites are bustling hubs of activity where skilled workers come together to build homes, offices and infrastructure. Among the various tasks that construction workers perform, working on scaffolding is a common one.
Considering that there were a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries in America in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, scaffolding also brings with it significant risks.
Lack of proper instruction
One of the primary reasons for scaffolding-related injuries is the lack of proper training. When workers are not adequately trained on how to assemble, use and dismantle scaffolding, accidents become more likely.
Without this knowledge, workers may not understand the load limits, the importance of a stable base or how to secure themselves while working on elevated platforms.
Falls from heights
Working on scaffolding often involves heights, and falls are a major concern. If scaffolding is not properly constructed or maintained, or if workers do not use safety harnesses and guardrails, the risk of falling becomes imminent. These falls can result in severe injuries, from broken bones to concussions and even fatalities.
In addition to the risk of workers falling, there is also the danger of objects or tools falling from scaffolding. When construction tools, materials or debris drop from an elevated platform, they can cause harm to workers and bystanders below.
This underscores the importance of securing tools and materials and using safety nets or toe boards on scaffolding to prevent objects from plummeting.
Collapses and structural failures
Scaffolding must be structurally sound and capable of supporting the intended load. Unfortunately, inadequate construction or poor maintenance can lead to scaffolding collapses.
When scaffolding fails, workers can suffer catastrophic injuries. Regular inspections and maintenance are important to ensure that scaffolding remains safe for use.
Environmental factors can exacerbate the risks associated with scaffolding work. Wind, rain and ice can make scaffolding slippery and unstable. Workers must be aware of these conditions and take appropriate precautions.
Protecting individuals who build structures while working on these elevated platforms should be every workplace’s goal. When those in charge fail to do this, workers may need to deal with long-term health complications after an injury.