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Minimizing scaffold injuries on construction sites

| Mar 6, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

If you work on a California construction project, you may encounter a variety of specialized workers on-site, from plumbers, masons and carpenters to welders and electricians. The employer has a duty to provide a safe environment for all workers. Following best practices and state guidelines can help reduce your risk of injury when working on or near scaffolding, regardless of your duties.

The State of California Department of Industrial Relations has general requirements for construction sites and regulations specifically for metal scaffolds.

Scaffolding hazards

Scaffolding helps you get the job done efficiently. However, it can also jeopardize the safety of a broad range of workers on the site. Scaffold dismantlers and erectors have increased risk as they work on the components in various phases of completion. Structural flaws that can increase your risk of injury when working nearby include improperly secured units to the building, missing braces, support base plates, cross-bracing, and runners.  If safety equipment doesn’t meet regulations, the risk of a fall increases. Factors that increase the potential for an injury include:

  • Partially planked platforms
  • Substandard planks
  • Slippery platforms
  • Missing top and mid guardrails or toe boards

Organizations that run construction sites should have an Injury & Illness Prevention Program. It covers specific scaffold safety guidelines.

Employee Training

Your company should have a Code of Safe Practice and train workers in the proper erection and dismantling procedures and scaffold use. Scaffold manufacturers typically have specific requirements for the components utilized for use. You should also know the load ratings, how they can affect your duties and the proper handling of materials and tools when working.

Routine scaffold inspections and tagging systems can let you know what tasks you can and cannot complete safely when on the unit. This may reduce the potential for catastrophic fall injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage. If you sustained injuries while working on or near scaffolding, workers’ compensation might help pay for lost wages and medical expenses.

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