Leading Cause of Construction Accidents: A Fall from a Ladder or Scaffold
Although there are many types of construction accidents, by far the most common one is a fall from a ladder or scaffold. In fact, there are so many of these types of falls that OSHA has developed a fall safety campaign to help bring awareness to these injuries, as many can be prevented by using safe practices in the workplace.
Falls often happen whenever the right ladder for the job is not provided. The ladder may not be tall enough or be capable of carrying the right amount of weight. It can be expensive to have multiple ladders on hand for different jobs, so companies often scrimp on equipment purchases. When they do, their employees are often the ones who suffer as a result.
Other times, equipment might need to be repaired, but it is kept in use anyway. Ladders or scaffolding that is wobbly or missing sections can be unsafe to use, and should be repaired as soon as possible. Wooden ladders should not have cracks in them, and metal ones should not contain an excessive amount of rust that would make them unstable.
Using ladders and scaffolding in the right location can also help prevent injuries. Whenever possible, they should be placed away from windows and doors and situated on level ground. This ground should be solid enough to support the equipment so it will not sink. If a ladder must be used on unstable ground, plywood should be used to level it up. Equipment should be kept away from power lines, especially when conditions are ripe for a thunderstorm.
OSHA requires workers to be properly trained before using scaffolding. The training should include common safety hazards such as falling, electrical hazards and equipment instability. Employees should also know how to inspect this equipment in order to make sure it is in good operating condition before using it.
Falls from ladders and scaffolding often result from employer negligence in using unsafe equipment or failing to provide the proper training. When this negligence results in an injured worker, that individual could be eligible to receive compensation to cover his or her damages. If you find yourself in a similar situation, contact us to find out more about how we can help.