Workers in a variety of industries rely on scaffolding every day to support them as they perform the duties of their job. However, scaffolding can create a number of risks. What injuries do workers face when using scaffolding?
What injuries might put workers at risk?
As the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) notes, nearly three-quarters of scaffold accidents result from scaffolding collapse, slips or falling objects. The power tools workers rely on could also put them at risk.
Scaffolding collapse can create a number of different risks. The scaffolding itself can crush or strike a worker during collapse, leading to injuries like traumatic brain injuries. When scaffolding guard rails or entire scaffolding structures give way, workers may fall from a significant height and break bones or damage their head and spine in the process. Scaffolding can collapse due to faulty manufacturing, negligent construction or use of scaffolding in strong winds.
Workers using equipment while working on a scaffold may also be at risk due to the electricity used to operate their power tools. Electrocution and burns can result from contact with a faulty tool or from a tool’s contact with the metal structure of the scaffold itself.
In addition to the risks faced by workers on the scaffolding itself, workers passing below the structure may be at risk if a tool, construction material or debris falls off the scaffold. These items, falling from a height, can lead to serious head injuries if they strike a worker below.
While scaffolding can put workers at risk of a variety of injuries, workers’ compensation benefits may offer support as they recover.