Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. And one of the most dangerous tasks for construction workers is working on scaffolding.
Michigan State University found that, between 2001 and 2018, 26 Michigan workers died while either erecting or working on or near a scaffold. That doesn’t include workers who died in incidents involving roof bracket scaffolds or scaffolds/platforms lifted by forklifts and powered industrial trucks.
The Leading Causes of Scaffolding Falls
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 86% of scaffolding falls happen in construction. The CDC also outlines the nine factors that most commonly contribute to scaffolding falls, which include:
- Failure to implement a fall protection program
- Failure to train workers in identifying, understanding, and controlling fall risks
- Worker inexperience (also considered a lack of proper training)
- Lack of fall protection or fall arrest systems
- Unstable work surfaces
- Improper use, selection, or construction of scaffolds
- Failure to use guardrails
- Failure to lock wheels prior to mounting work platforms
- Working alone from heights during off hours
How Construction Companies Can Prevent Scaffolding Falls
After identifying hazards commonly found on construction sites, the CDC offers a checklist that construction companies should follow to prevent scaffolding falls among construction workers.
- Construction companies should train workers on how to set up scaffolding and assign them the task of supervising all setups.
- Scaffolding should be set up on stable ground or surfaces.
- Scaffolding should always be set up according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards.
- Whenever a scaffolding platform is more than 10 feet above a lower level, guardrails or a fall arrest system should be used.
- The scaffolding and all individual scaffolding parts should be thoroughly inspected prior to each use.
- Scaffolding should always be fully planked.
- Scaffolding should always be fully secured, which means locking the wheels on mobile scaffolds.
- Construction companies should ensure workers have safe access to get on and off scaffolding.
When Construction Companies Fail to Create Safe Conditions, Workers Suffer
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous workplaces imaginable. When it comes to workplace safety, the stakes are high for construction workers. It’s up to construction companies to ensure that worksites are safe, workers are trained, and equipment is properly constructed and well-maintained.
When construction companies fall short of their responsibilities, workers can suffer serious, potentially life-threatening injuries. Injured workers and their families should never be forced to pay the price for construction companies’ mistakes.
If a construction worker is injured or killed on the job, the path to compensation is not always as clear as it for other types of workers. That’s because construction workers are often considered independent contractors, which means they aren’t entitled to traditional workers’ compensation benefits.
However, injured construction workers or families of construction workers who died on the job should know that there are often other paths available to get much-needed compensation for workplace injuries.
Let Fieger Law Help
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured on a construction site, the experienced Michigan construction site lawyers at Fieger Law can help. We have years of experience handling these types of cases, and we know what it takes to get you and your loved ones the compensation you’re entitled to.