Any construction site that goes up more than one floor will likely have some sort of scaffolding present. From the outside looking in, and for those not familiar with construction, scaffolding can seem somewhat flimsy. However, scaffolding has to be constructed in certain ways in order to ensure stability and safety for the workers. Scaffolding is actually very stable if constructed correctly, and it can last quite a while while the construction is ongoing. However, scaffolding accidents can lead to severe injuries and even fatalities. Here, we want to discuss the most common causes of scaffolding accidents in Arizona.

Scaffolding Accidents and Severe Injuries

Data presented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows that scaffolding violations are the third most common type of violation issued by OSHA safety regulators against construction companies. The reality is that the construction industry is one of the most deadly industries in this country. Construction workers make up approximately 20% of all workplace fatalities annually across the US.

The good news is that most scaffolding injuries are preventable, but it is crucial to understand the most common causes of these accidents so they can actually be prevented.

1. Scaffolding defects

Some scaffolding accidents are caused by problems with individual scaffold parts. If there was a design flaw in the individual scaffolding parts, or if there was an error made during the manufacturing process, then the scaffolding may be considered defective overall under federal or state regulations.

2. Improper construction of scaffolding

Just like construction workers take care to ensure that they complete their projects based on state and federal building codes, it is imperative to ensure that scaffolding is also properly constructed. If scaffolding is not constructed the right way, including failing to affix the attachment points, failing to install proper racing, failing to install guardrails, and more, this significantly increases the risks to workers.

3. Inadequate maintenance of scaffolding

Scaffolding must be tended to frequently while a construction project is ongoing. Often, scaffolding will remain in place for long periods of time, and it is crucial for workers to make sure that the scaffolding functions properly on a regular basis.

4. Weak or inadequate planking

Scaffolding has wood or metal planking so that workers can stand on the platform and properly perform their work duties. Any weak or inadequate planking significantly increases the worker fall risks.

5. Inadequate training for workers

Training is imperative for all construction workers, regardless of their job function. This includes proper training on how to build and work around or on scaffolding. The construction of the scaffolding requires a specific set of skills, as does actually working on the scaffolding for day-to-day activities.

6. Inadequate access to safety equipment

Even a properly designed and constructed scaffolding area could present significant dangers, and workers must have access to adequate safety equipment. Workers should have safety harnesses and structurally sound carabiners to help prevent a fall from heights. Workers should also have adequate gloves, footwear, and hard hats.

7. Failing to protect from falling objects

Objects falling from heights present significant dangers to construction workers and bystanders below the construction site. All objects should be properly mounted to or tied off to the scaffolding to prevent them from falling, and workers below any scaffolding area should have hard hats on to prevent head or brain injuries should an object fall.

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