Scaffold accidents: What you should know

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Monday, Oct 23, 2023

Scaffolds are convenient because they allow for the creation of a stable work area where construction workers can access difficult-to-reach areas. However, because they elevate workers so high above the ground, they’re also quite dangerous.

Here are a couple of the most prevalent dangers related to scaffolds:

  • Workers can fall from the scaffolds and suffer fatal or catastrophic injuries.
  • Tools and other objects can drop from scaffolds and strike people below.
  • Scaffolds can collapse, injuring the workers on them and the people underneath.

To prevent scaffold-related accidents and injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set standards for the design and construction of scaffolds. For example, every scaffold needs to support its own weight and four times its maximum intended load without collapsing. Also, suspension ropes need to support six times their max-intended loads.

Employers also need to inspect scaffolds before workers use them each day. A trained and competent individual must be present to supervise the construction, dismantling or moving of any scaffold. This individual should also inspect all of the scaffold parts and the fall-prevention equipment associated with the scaffold to ensure that it is in proper working order. If the inspector or any other worker discovers a damaged or worn part of the scaffold, the part should be replaced or repaired immediately before using the scaffold.

Were you hurt while working at a New York construction site? Your medical costs and lost wages related to your injury may be paid through workers’ compensation. However, you should be aware that you need to speak to an experienced attorney to see if you also have the right to bring what is called a “third party action" which is a lawsuit where you sue someone other than your employer, such as the owner of the property or a general contractor or other sub-contractor to recover your damages including past and future medical expenses and wages as well as for your pain and suffering.

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