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Workplace safety and scaffold injury prevention

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 65 percent of construction workers use scaffolds on a regular basis while performing their job duties. As such, it is no surprise that scaffold-related accidents are exceedingly common in the construction industry. They also result in some of the worst kind of injuries.

Because of the dangers associated with scaffolds, OSHA has created specific regulations that apply to them:

-- Design and Construction: Scaffold design and construction must be in alignment with OSHA standards regarding rated capacities, construction methods, equipment and how it is used. Every scaffold part has to be able to support its weight along with four times its intended maximum load without failing. Suspension ropes have to be able to support six times their intended maximum load.

-- Inspection: Employers have to have a competent person on hand to inspect scaffolds and their components prior to every work shift. Scaffolds need to have supervision by a competent person when they are erected, dismantled, moved and/or altered. In addition, scaffold parts and safety equipment -- like droplines, lanyards, harnesses, body belts, points of anchorage and trolley lines -- need to be inspected regularly by competent persons. Any signs of wearing and damage needs to be serviced immediately.

Following the rules with regard to scaffolds is not enough to make them completely accident-proof. Tragic events will, unfortunately, happen no matter what employers do. In such incidents, however, injured workers in California will have the chance to pursue workers' compensation benefits to pay for the medical care they need to get better. Additional benefits -- like wage replacement assistance -- may also be available depending on the extent of the worker's injuries.

Source: FindLaw, "Scaffold Injuries," accessed Sep. 19, 2016

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