Scaffold Personal Injury Accidents

Scaffold Accident Lawsuit Background

Scaffolds range from simple platforms supported by blocks to complex geometric-like structures. Many people, for example construction workers (2.3 million) and window washers, use scaffolds in their everyday business. Others of us occasionally rent scaffolds for periodic home maintenance, and most of us at some point pass under scaffolds as we frequent businesses undergoing repairs. 

In each of these situations, there is the potential for injury due to defective scaffolding. In fact, there are about 4,500 scaffolding-related injuries every year. Injuries may include abrasions, broken bones, electric shock, paralysis or even death when scaffolds fail.

Scafford Accident Statistics

Here are some scaffold injury death statistics for the United States:
2007: 88 occupational scaffold-related deaths
2008: 68 occupational scaffold-related deaths

In other words, too many people are dying on a scaffold.

Negligence and Product Liability Claims

The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) propounds guidelines for the use and construction of scaffolds in occupational settings. Employers who assemble pre-fabricated scaffolds must ensure that the scaffolds are properly built and safe.

There are three basic types of scaffolds: Supported scaffolds ( built from the ground up), Suspended scaffolds ( hang from ropes or other means from above), and Aerial lifts (vehicle-mounted devices that raise and lower workers). Most of these injuries result from inadequate planks and supports, slipping and falling objects. Proper scaffolds should eliminate or reduce the possibility of these types of accidents.

Whether defectively assembled, designed or manufactured, scaffolding accidents may result from:

  • Lack railings
  • Inadequate railings
  • Inadequate anchors
  • Lack of safety warnings
  • Inadequate decks and plating
  • Improper fall protection
  • Inappropriate scaffold for the intended weight
  • Improper ropes and related equipment
  • Improper storage
  • Improper maintenance
  • Welding defects
  • Faulty ladders
Common Scaffold Injury Claim Scenarios

We have seen a lot of cases involving workers who are using a rolling scaffold near unprotected holes.  The worker's attention is usually high up, particularly during ceiling work.  The risk is that scaffold moves enough for a wheel to roll into a hole.  This often causes the scaffold to overturn. 

The dangers of rolling scaffolds and unprotected holes can be substantially eliminated if adequate safety precautions are used. A proper and adequate safety precaution is to cover or barricade holes in such a way that scaffold wheels cannot roll into the holes.

"Competent Person" 
There are OSHA rules about how that training is done or tested.  OSHA 1926.45 requires that for many large projects that there be a scaffold “competent person” on site performing the duties of a scaffold “competent person”. 
A “competent person” means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. At the beginning of every shift, the scaffold “competent person” is responsible for inspecting every scaffold that will be used on that shift, and on this project, to put the colored scaffold tag on it, properly filled out.  If the "competent person" is not competent, this is often a source of mistakes that lead to injury. 

Contact Our Law Firm

If you or someone you love has suffered a catastrophic injury or death call our scaffold accident lawyers at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.

More on Product Liability Lawsuits

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