Columbus Scaffolding Accident Lawyers
Construction work is one of the most dangerous careers in the United States, especially when the work is suspended dozens of feet above the ground on unstable scaffolding. Not only do construction workers have to be mindful about the job that they are performing, but they also have to take their footing on the scaffolding into consideration, adding an extra danger into their job.
With the rise of inner-city population, construction projects often expand upward, causing the majority of construction workers (2.3 million or 65 percent) to use scaffolding on-the-job. Many workers are injured and killed each year due to faulty scaffolding equipment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 29% of fall deaths in the work place are due to scaffolding and ladders.
How Common are Scaffolding Accidents?
According to OSHA, there are close to 4,500 injuries and over 60 deaths each year due to scaffolding injuries, causing around $90 million in workdays lost. 72 percent of these workers injured in scaffolding accidents cited that the accident was due to either the planning or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these accidents can be controlled and prevented by compliance with OSHA standards.
Most injuries from heights, such as scaffolding, have an “axial load”, meaning that there is force exerted along the lines of an axis, creating injury. Depending on how a person falls, how high the scaffolding is, if the person hit anything else during the fall, and how the person lands will determine the type of injury sustained. The two most common axial load injuries are landing feet first and landing head first.
Landing a fall from a height feet-first can cause broken bones throughout the leg, as well as injury to the spine. Organs often cannot handle axial load injury stress and can become damaged as well. However, landing a fall head-first will often cause death or severe traumatic brain injury.
All of the injuries sustained from a fall from scaffolding, if not fatal, can take months of recovery; most of these injuries are permanent. However, construction workers are not the only people susceptible to scaffolding injuries, as these injuries are also seen in the service industry (painters, window cleaners, maintenance workers) as well as in the private sector.
Are Scaffold Accidents Preventable?
Construction can be a safe occupation when employers and employees are aware of the hazards and work together to ensure that an effective safety program is used. OSHA.gov has lists and resources for compiling safety checklists for hazardous construction jobs. Appropriate policy and work rules for scaffolding use should concentrate on: proper design, training personnel, and providing fall protection.
A scaffold should be capable of supporting its own weight and at least four times the maximum intended load to be applied to the scaffold. It may be necessary to consult an engineer to determine heavy-load points. Training should also include a review of the scaffolding system and its proper use, as well as fall protection. Employers must ensure that workers have appropriate safety equipment available to them at any point during their work day, including a hat and body harness with lanyard, rope grabs, independent vertical lifelines, and an independent lifeline anchorage. Supervisors in charge should have the skill, experience, and training to ensure safe instillation and dismantling according to the scaffolding manufacturer’s specifications.
When an occupational accident causes injury, the Ohio Workers’ Compensation program should cover a worker’s total medical costs and a portion of lost income. In the case of a workplace death, the Ohio Workers’ Compensation program provides monetary benefits to surviving dependents. However, if a party other than the employer is responsible for the worker’s injury, the injured worker or the workers family may pursue a separate personal injury or wrongful death claim. This option is often available in scaffolding accidents when scaffolding is supplied and erected by a different company other than the primary employer on a construction site. A third-party claim could seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, and additional losses beyond what workers’ compensation provides.
Contact a Construction Accident Lawyer
We have found that in our representation of injured workers, very few are familiar with the options available to them after an on-the-job accident. The construction accident attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm are here to help these workers and their families obtain justice for the occupational injuries that prevented them from continuing work.
Rinehardt Law Firm is the answer to your personal injury. Our team of attorneys and case managers have represented clients in in Columbus and throughout central and north central Ohio for years. We treat every new client as if they were part of our family by providing clear communication, building a strong relationship, and using our experience to provide legal guidance that’s in their best interests. We offer free consultations with no obligation, so don’t hesitate to contact our team about your legal matter.