Scaffolding is widely used in construction as a safer alternative to ladders. Provided the scaffolding is constructed and assembled properly, it’s a very safe structure allowing workers to carry out their duties effectively at greater heights than they could reach with ladders and with a vastly reduced risk of falling. It allows equipment and materials to be carried up with the workers, which means the job can be completed more quickly and efficiently. However, scaffolding that has not been assembled properly can pose a number of risks to both workers and members of the public. Scaffolding must be assembled and fixed together by an experienced professional using the right components.
Using incompatible parts could cause the scaffolding to collapse. Even a partial collapse can cause serious injury to anyone standing nearby or working on the scaffolding. Loose boards or handrails can cause those working on the scaffolding to fall or injure themselves, which is particularly serious when working at height. It’s also a risk for objects to fall from scaffolding and injure anyone standing below.
Employers must issue anyone in the vicinity of the worksite with personal protective clothing, such as hard hats. It’s also vital to keep members of the public away from scaffolding wherever possible to reduce their risk of injury.
Common injuries from scaffolding accidents can include cuts and lacerations from protruding metal edges, fractured and broken bones from falls or being struck by falling objects, back injuries and head injuries. In the most serious cases, scaffolding accidents can even cause death.
There are many laws intended to protect people from injury or harm in the workplace. There are three that are particularly relevant to those who work on scaffolding:
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 These regulations stipulate that all employers requiring their staff to work at height must ensure that adequate training is given and that the work is planned carefully in advance. The employer must conduct risk assessments and ensure that any equipment is stringently maintained and in full working order.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 All equipment to be used by workers must be appropriate for the job and are functioning properly. All workers expected to operate the equipment must be fully trained in its use and must have been issued with any necessary protective clothing.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 Workers must be issued any protective clothing or equipment necessary to keep them safe whilst carrying out their duties. That equipment must be maintained and fit for purpose. The clothing or equipment must be properly stored to prevent damage and all workers must be instructed into the proper use of the protective clothing and equipment.
If you’ve been injured in a scaffolding related accident at work that was not your fault, you may be able to claim compensation. There are time limits imposed on how long after the accident you will be able to make a claim, so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. To learn more about how Cute Injury can help you, get in touch today.