Scaffolding Collapse, Fall, and Electrocution Injuries can Be Fatal
Using scaffolding at a job site creates a hazardous work environment. Falls, falling objects, and unstable scaffolding are all dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) has drafted scaffolding requirements and regulations to make working around scaffolding safer. Scaffolding collapse or falls from scaffolding can cause serious injuries to workers. Scaffolding safety is a must for employers if they want to keep workers free from harm.
Employers Must Train on the Safe Use of Scaffolding
Studies have historically shown that 25% of workers injured in scaffold accidents had received no scaffold safety training. In response, OSHA strengthened the training requirements.
Employers must have each employee who performs work using scaffolds to be trained. The training must be conducted by a person qualified on the subject. Employees must be trained to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold being used. They must also understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards. Training must also include:
- Work area hazards – Workers must be trained on electrical hazards, fall hazards and falling object hazards in the work area.
- Dealing with hazards – Workers need to understand the correct way to deal with electrical hazards.
- Safety procedures for putting up, maintaining and taking down the fall protection systems and falling object protections systems.
- The proper use of the scaffold and the safest way to work on scaffolding.
- Scaffolding load maximums – The maximum intended load and the load-carrying capacities of the scaffolding.
Fall Protection Requirements and Scaffolding
OSHA has determined a fall-protection threshold of 10 feet for scaffolding. This threshold is different from other elevated work platforms which require fall protection at 6 feet. Regardless of how high off the ground they are working, fall protection is a must to keep workers safe.
The fall protection required by OSHA for workers on scaffolding includes:
- Personal fall protection
- Grab ropes
The employer is responsible for providing fall protection. The employer is also responsible for making sure that fall protection is used. OSHA requires that employers have a competent person determine whether fall protection is necessary. The competent person is also responsible for ensuring fall protection is used when erecting and dismantling scaffolding.
Scaffolding must be Put up a Safe Distance from Power Lines
Scaffolding cannot be erected, used, dismantled, altered or moved closer than 3 – 10 feet away from power lines. OSHA provides regulations on the safe distance between scaffolding and electrical lines.
If scaffolding has to be moved close to power lines, OSHA requires that the power lines be de-energized. If the power lines can’t be de-energized, a protective coating must be applied to the lines. These regulations are designed to prevent worker contact with live power lines.
Houston Workplace Injury Attorney who Understand Scaffolding Safety
When employers fail to properly train workers on scaffolding safety, workers can get hurt. When fall protection isn’t provided, workers can be killed. And if scaffolding is erected too close to electrified power lines, workers can be electrocuted. Employers have obligations to keep workers safe around scaffolding. When they fail at those obligations and workers are injured, they should be held accountable. Chelsie King Garza is a Houston workplace accident attorney who understands scaffolding safety. Contact her for a free consultation today.