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The dangers of working on scaffolding

If you are among the many American workers who regularly spends time working on or around scaffolding, you face unique on-the-job hazards you and your employer should try to minimize as much as possible. The term "scaffold" refers to an elevated work platform you might use to construct a building, wash upper-level windows or what have you, and these platforms can prove exceedingly dangerous if not in adequate shape and used properly.

How scaffolding leads to injuries

Many scaffolding accidents manifest from similar circumstances, and if you regularly work around scaffolding, you may experience:

Falls. Falls from scaffolding are common, and the injuries experienced after falls can range from minor to fatal. Factors that impact the severity of a fall injury include the height that you fell from and whether you were wearing proper protective gear at the time of your accident. Scaffolding can also collapse if erected improperly or overloaded, and these circumstances, too, can cause serious falls and related injuries.

Electrocution. As someone who works on scaffolds and at elevated heights, you also face a risk of electrocution. Just how severe your electrocution risk is will vary based on the proximity of your scaffolds to nearby power lines, so it is wise to always take care to leave ample room between the two.

Blunt-force trauma. You also face risks simply by working near scaffolding, as opposed to directly on top of it. Debris, falling tools and falling construction materials can all strike you if you are working near or under scaffolding, potentially causing serious injuries.

Scaffolding plays a key role in modern construction, with about 65 percent of those in the construction industry relying on it regularly. Currently, scaffolding-related hazards are to blame for about 60 deaths and about 4,500 injuries every year. Many of these accidents are avoidable if employers and workers together make efforts to use scaffolds appropriately and take proper safety precautions when working on or around them.

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