When you make your living working in construction, chances are, you use scaffolds on at least a semi-regular basis. Temporary work platforms positioned at heights above the ground are quite common across many American construction sites, but they can also, in some instances, prove highly dangerous for construction workers.
The dangers associated with using scaffolding are numerous because they can endanger both the people working on top of them and those performing work beneath them. Still, many construction workers who suffer scaffolding-related injuries or fatalities find that their incidents result from similar hazards.
Common sources of scaffolding injuries
Construction work is not ideal for those who are afraid of heights. While you face a certain level of risk anytime you work on a ladder, rooftop or other elevated setting, scaffolds present their own height-related challenges. Many construction workers who injure themselves while using scaffolding do so in falls. While you can reduce your risk of a head injury or other type of fall-related injury by always utilizing fall protection, you cannot reasonably eliminate all scaffolding-related fall risks.
A scaffolding collapse is another type of incident that can cause you significant injury on a construction site. While performing work on top of the scaffold can lead to serious injuries, should the scaffold collapse, so, too, can working underneath them, because you could find yourself caught or crushed by the collapsing platform.
Even if the scaffold itself stays put, you face other hazards when working below a scaffold. Falling tools, paint buckets or other equipment, for example, can cause you significant injuries if you work beneath a scaffold. You also run the risk of electrocution when you work high up on a scaffold if you raise it too close to power lines.
As a construction worker, you have a right to expect a safe work environment, and your employer has a duty to keep you and your coworkers safe while on the job. If you have concerns about the safety of your work environment, you may want to consider filing a complaint.