Scaffolding accidents are often the outcome of their construction being improper or because of negligent maintenance. It has been found that of the half a million injuries that occur each year on construction sites, an estimated ten thousand of those injuries are due to scaffolding accidents.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has strict guidelines that have been put into place to ensure scaffolds are assembled and used properly. While these guidelines are quite helpful, unfortunately the constructor of the scaffolding and/or the worker may over look certain aspects of the equipment as they think it is not necessary or may be perceived as too costly to buy or to rent. The end result is a scaffolding system that is not entirely safe and does not meet OSHA guidelines.
If you or someone you know has been harmed because of a scaffolding injury, you should not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney for assistance with your scaffold accident claims. These professionals will conduct a complete evaluation and will help you determine how best to proceed.
While scaffolding assembly is critical to safe operation, there are certain components that are often overlooked or left out. These include the following:
Mud Sills and Base Plates: Mud sill and base plates are required equipment for all scaffolds. Furthermore, the surface that the mud sill will be place must be able to support the full load of the scaffold without any settling taking place. On some worksites, the soil must be compacted prior to the scaffold being set up for use.
Scaffold Ties: The first scaffold tie needs to be installed at the horizontal frame member that is in closest proximity to the 4:1 height to base ratio. For example, if you are setting up the scaffolding to have five foot wide framing, the first scaffold tie needs to be placed at the horizontal frame member that is closest as possible to the twenty foot height mark. After the first scaffold tie is installed, the remaining ties need to be installed at intervals of height no more than twenty six feet. Furthermore, scaffold ties need to be installed on each end of the scaffold as well as at horizontal points no more than thirty feet. All scaffold ties must be able to withstand a pull or push force of at least twenty five hundred pounds. If the scaffolding is to be used in windy conditions, extra scaffold ties may be required.
Side Brackets: Side brackets are meant for the use of workers only; they should never be used to load material or for any type of storage. Load capacity for the side brackets needs to be verified in order to avoid them becoming overloaded. The majority of brackets have a load capacity rating of about five hundred pounds. When attempting to figure the load that is placed on a certain bracket, you should remember to include the.5 are of the bay load on each bracket side. Side brackets need to be pinned or wired to the frame in order to prevent uplift.
Guard Rails: Both the mid and top rails need to have this feature. OSHA scaffolding guidelines require that all scaffolds have proper fall protection if the worker is faced with the possibility of a fall of greater than ten feet to the ground. In order for a guard rail to meet the fall protection guideline, it has to have a top rail height of at least thirty eight inches, but no more than forty five inches higher than the work platform. The mid rail must be installed half way between the work platform and the top rail. The top rail should also be able to at least a two hundred pound force in both horizontal and downward directions.
Toe Boards: OSHA guidelines for scaffolding also require that the work platform when at a height of ten feet or more have toe boards on all sides. These boards must be at least three and a half inches high, and should be able to hold up to a force of at least fifty pounds when applied in any direction.
Lock or Fastening Pins: Most often snap pins, hinge pins, and gravity pigtail pins are used for scaffolding. These need to be installed at all connection points in the frame, especially in the case that material is being hoisted from the level of the platform.
Decking for the Work Platform: OSHA mandates that all work levels must be decked entirely. It is recommended that when using planking, workers follow the OSHA chart in order to determine the load capacity of the platform. If manufactured decks or planking is used, the rated load capacity should not be exceeded. All platforms and planks need to be thoroughly inspected before installation, and once in place the planks need to be checked for proper overlap.
If you or someone you know has been hurt because of a scaffolding accident on a job site, you should not delay in having your case evaluated by a qualified personal injury attorney. These legal professionals are well versed in this area of the law, and know how to go about holding all of those responsible for your injuries accountable.
Compensation in these types of cases can include that for past, present, and future medical expenses, loss of earning capability, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life. This type of negligence can be and should be avoided at all times and when it takes place, action needs to be taken to ensure it never happens again. Personal injury attorneys will handle your case with the utmost care and professionalism from start to finish. Since most personal injury attorneys charge no fees until the time your case settles, the worry of how to afford a legal claim is erased. This can go a long way toward helping with your personal health and recovery. Do not risk becoming a victim twice; as you can see, you have very little to lose but a great deal to gain.