Injuries on the workplace occur more often than you may think. Recent estimates point to more than 4,500 injuries every year from construction workers experiencing scaffolding related injuries. What constitutes a scaffolding injury can be a wide range of situations including things like being struck with falling objects, electrocutions, collapses, slip and falls, and height related injuries. While injuries can occur in a number of different ways, preventing injuries requires only a single thing be done, adherence and compliance with OSHA construction regulations.
To help you comply with these regulations, we have included a break down of each category. It includes a breakdown of the regulations so that you can decrease injuries and make your work place safer. If you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer contact Avrek today for a Free consultation.
1. Height Injuries
OSHA requirements recommend that your scaffolding include a guard rail across the base, mid rails, and top of any scaffolding more than 10 feet in height. In addition, be aware that ladders are also require on scaffolding. As a final consideration, now that climbing the scaffolding rails is strictly prohibited.
2. Slip & Fall Injuries
OSHA requirements recommend that your employees should not be working on wet and slippery surfaces. This includes things like wet or icy surfaces. On scaffolding greater than a single inch, every employee should be wearing cleats. This helps to preserve traction when walking over grating. As a final consideration, all scaffolding stairways you use should include slip resistant treads and landings on walk-able surfaces.
3. Collapse Injuries
OSHA recommends and requires that when setting up scaffolding, it must be leveled correctly. In addition, it needs to be rigid and strong enough to carry around 4 times the maximum potential intended load. An individual with the proper knowledge background must perform maintenance and look/repair damage that may otherwise weaken the scaffolding.
They are also responsible for the construction as well as the dismantling of the scaffolding that is being used. By having an individual with the right training in charge of the structure, you ensure that injuries related to it collapsing are kept to a minimum.
4. Electrocution Injuries
OSHA recommends as well as requires that power lines be taken into consideration when constructing scaffolding. This is done to decrease the potential for electrocution related injuries. Scaffolding must be at least 10 feet away from overhanging power lines as well as a greater distance from lines that have a higher than average voltage. Be aware of electricity and make electrocution injuries a non-issue.
5. Falling Object Injuries
OSHA requires that there be barriers that border around scaffolding. This is to prevent employees as well as pedestrians from being in harms way when under the scaffolding. Dramatically decreasing the risk of injury and lawsuit, taking steps to prevent falling object injuries through things like toe boards and other barriers will help safeguard your construction site.
OSHA has a full and extended scaffolding resource. There you can find even more information on scaffolding rules and regulations as well as best practices you can follow to safeguard your work zone. A little bit of prevention can go a long way to reducing injuries over the long-term and we strive to keep both this resource as well as the necessary legal requirements as readily accessible as possible.
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Personal Fall Arrest Systems
Personal fall arrest systems have two major components: the harness worn by the worker and the lifeline to which the harness is attached. In the past, it was required to have a belt attached to a lifeline via a lanyard. Updated regulations now require that workers wear full harness vests that are attached by lanyard to a vertical or horizontal lifeline.
When a vertical lifeline is used, it must be attached to a fixed anchor that is not part of the scaffold. The anchor cannot be on a building’s vent, standpipe, electrical conduit or anything else that is likely to give way under the force of a fall. In addition, only one lifeline can be attached to a single anchorage, and lifelines cannot be attached to each other.
OSHA requires that prior to scaffold use by employees, guardrail systems must be in place along every open side of a platform. Each top-rail of a guardrail must be strong enough withstand at least 200 pounds of downward or horizontal force. The surface of the guardrail must be designed so as to not cause lacerations or clothing snags.
Other scaffold safety requirements
In addition to fall protection requirements, OSHA has several other rules related to the safe use of scaffolding. OSHA limits who can build or tear down a scaffold. Because building scaffolds is highly technical, only workers who have been specially trained are permitted to design, construct or remove scaffolding. Fall protection must also be used by those who build and dismantle scaffolds. Furthermore, scaffolds must be constructed only from specified materials and must be able to support at least 4 times its maximum load. Once erected, scaffolds must be inspected by specially trained individuals before they can be used.
Scaffold training involves making sure that those who build, tear down and inspect scaffolds understand the correct procedures for building and dismantling the different types of scaffolds. They must also understand the nature of fall hazards and the correct procedures for dealing with such hazards.
Failure to follow fall protection requirements
If an employer fails to follow fall protection and other scaffold safety requirements, the likelihood of worker injury increases dramatically. Workers who fall from high elevations suffer serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, back injuries and broken bones. Many workers do not survive such falls. Employers may be legally liable for such injuries and required to compensate the injured employee or his or her family.
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