Working on or around scaffolding poses significant risks for American workers. Scaffolding-related accidents contribute to many workplace injuries each year.
Understanding the hazards associated with working on or around scaffolding is important for workers and employers alike.
Working at elevated heights on scaffolding increases the risk of falls. Falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries in the United States. Whether due to unstable scaffolding structures, lack of fall protection measures or human error, falls from scaffolding can result in severe injuries. Fractures and sprains are common results. Some scaffolding injuries are also life-threatening.
Collapse or instability
Scaffolding can collapse or become unstable, leading to catastrophic accidents. The risk of collapse increases when scaffolding holds too much. The structural risks associated with scaffolding underscore the importance of regular inspections. They also highlight the need for adherence to safety guidelines.
Workers on scaffolding often handle tools, equipment or construction materials. These items can pose a danger to those working below. Objects dropped from scaffolding can cause serious injuries to individuals on the ground. Tool tethers and protective barriers help prevent objects from falling. In doing so, they help protect workers at all levels.
Scaffolding placed near power lines introduces the risk of electrical hazards. Workers can face electrical shocks or electrocution if the scaffolding comes into contact with live wires. Adequate training and proper safety precautions help mitigate the risk of electrical injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that 65% of the nation’s construction workers use scaffolding regularly. By prioritizing worker safety and addressing specific hazards, employers and workers can contribute to a safer work environment and reduce the incidence of scaffolding-related injuries.