Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

Construction workers: Were you injured by a scaffold?

Some construction workers regularly build and work on scaffolds as a part of their jobs. These devices are extremely useful because workers can build and dismantle them easily to gain access to difficult-to-reach places.

Because scaffolds elevate workers into the air, they present fall dangers. Not only can workers themselves fall, but the tools they're using can also fall. In fact, numerous workers die or suffer catastrophic injuries related to scaffolds every year. In order to stay safe while using scaffolds, here are two things workers need to keep in mind:

1. Inspect scaffolds before use

It's vital to inspect the safety and good repair of a scaffold before using it. Every morning before climbing onto a scaffold, workers should have a person who is designated and trained in scaffolding safety to review the device for problems. In instances where rusty or broken parts are found, workers should repair the scaffold, replace the parts or refrain from using it.

Scaffold parts should also be reviewed closely during the construction and dismantling of scaffolds.

2. Only use scaffolds for their intended purposes

Different scaffolds are made for different purposes. Some lightweight scaffolds have weight limitations that can't bear significant loads.

It's important for workers to review all OSHA requirements for the types of scaffolds they are using. These include: rated capacities, intended use and construction methods. At the very least, all scaffolds used by workers should be able to support their weight and four times the intended load without failing. Furthermore, suspension ropes should be able to support six times the intended load or more.

What to do after an injurious scaffold-related accident

Fortunately, most workers who use scaffolds on a regular basis in New Jersey are covered by the state's workers' compensation program. As such, an injured worker can usually apply for insurance benefits to pay for medical care and replace wages lost while recovering from injuries. In certain circumstances, workers may also be able to pursue additional personal injury claims related to their injuries if a third party is also liable for the circumstances that led to the scaffold accident.

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