Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC
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The dangers of improper scaffolding procedures

Many construction workers throughout Illinois will continue to work on projects throughout the autumn and winter. In slippery conditions, awareness of the dangers of work-related falls will never be more important. Falls are one of the most prevalent and dangerous injuries in the workplace, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scaffolding structures are one of the most common ways a construction worker can be gravely injured or killed at the worksite. U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration guidelines outlined by the Brookhaven National Laboratory state that many workers who were involved in scaffolding incidents did not have adequate training. If workers were properly trained and safety standards implemented, about 50 lives could be spared and 4,500 accidents prevented each year.

There are numerous ways to be injured on or around a scaffold, which include the following:

  • Falling when a scaffold collapses or tips over
  • Tripping on an uneven surface or falling through incomplete planking
  • Being struck by an object falling from the structure
  • Being electrocuted by wires or cables near the scaffold

OSHA officials state that safety standards are necessary to prevent deadly scaffolding accidents. These include fully planking the walking surface and installing guard rails and arrest systems to prevent falls; not overloading the structure and having someone qualified inspect it to keep it from collapsing; sectioning off or building a canopy around the scaffold to prevent workers below from being struck by falling objects; and keeping a safe distance between the scaffold and electrical lines or de-energizing the lines.

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