One of the most important tools on a New York construction site is a scaffold. This system of frames, braces and planks allows workers to reach higher sections of a project more safely than using ladders. However, this does not mean scaffolds are always safe. In fact, scaffold accidents can result from a variety of hazards, most of which are preventable.
Whenever a worker is assigned to a project off the ground, fall prevention equipment is essential. This can include personal protective equipment, such as a harness, but also railings, toe guards and other devices on the scaffold itself. Not only may this reduce the likelihood of a fall, but toe guards, for example, may also prevent objects from falling onto workers or pedestrians below. To that end, it is important to have a system for keeping tools and debris out from under the feet of those working on a scaffold.
The scaffolding itself may present a life-threatening hazard if it is not properly assembled. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets certain standards for the assembling and inspection of scaffolding at the beginning of each shift. Scaffolding that is poorly constructed, weakened by use or damage, or made of inferior materials that are inappropriate for the job often results in devastating accidents, injury and death.
These are only a few ways in which scaffold accidents can occur. Preventing such accidents involves training, attention to detail and adherence to safety protocol. Nevertheless, when a scaffold accident occurs, those involved may face numerous hardships, including pain and suffering, exorbitant medical bills or even funeral costs. Workers’ compensation may help, but it may also benefit New York workers and their families to explore every legal option for obtaining the compensation they deserve.