Construction is an undeniably dangerous industry, and if you make your living working within it, you probably have at least some understanding of just how often you leave your jobsite with aches, pains and job-related injuries. While there are many different elements that make working in construction dangerous, scaffolding is one of the big ones, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reporting that enhancing scaffolding safety could prevent as many as 60 deaths and 4,500 injuries annually.
Because construction workers rely on scaffolds, or elevated, short-term work platforms, to work from heights, there are obvious risks involved. Additionally, many construction workers who suffer injuries related to their use of scaffolding do so after experiencing similar circumstances. So, what specific injury risks do you face as a construction worker who uses scaffolding to perform your job duties?
Anytime you work at an elevation, you run the risk of suffering a serious fall, but the temporary nature of scaffolds and the fact that they are often raised and removed quickly can make them even more dangerous for today’s workers. While improperly erecting a scaffold can cause it to fall, so, too, can overloading it.
When erecting scaffolds in the first place, it is imperative that you exercise care when determining where to do so. Avoid power lines at all costs, because erecting your platforms too close to power lines can increase your risk of electrocution considerably.
Blunt trauma risks
While working on top of scaffolds is inherently dangerous, the same applies to working beneath them. If a scaffold platform bears too much weight, it can collapse, potentially injuring anyone below. Construction workers performing job duties near the base of the scaffold also face injury risks, as tools and anything else that could fall off the scaffold could potentially strike them in the head or another part of the body.
While these are some of the more common injuries that result from scaffolding-related accidents, please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all possible injuries.