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Where there is construction, whether it’s commercial or residential, there is often times scaffolds involved. Scaffolds are widely used on a construction site in order for workers to gain access to heights and areas that would be otherwise hard to get to. When used properly and with the proper safety precautions scaffolds are a big help, but unsafe scaffolding has the potential to result in serious injury or even death.

There are two types of scaffold systems.Suspended scaffolds are suspended from cables or  heavy ropes from overhead support. Suspended scaffolds are commonly used on taller buildings where you are working on the upper floors.  For the lower floors, or smaller structures, supported scaffolds are usually used.  Supported scaffolds are supported from the bottom with legs, frames, or poles.  With either type accidents are always a concern and accidents where scaffolds are involved can be very serious.

Anyone working on or around scaffolds should be aware of the most common hazards in order to prevent accidents. The most common hazards include:

  • Falls from high scaffolding with no fall protection
  • Scaffolding collapse, caused by overloading, instability, or poor construction
  • Electrocutions can occur if scaffold is set up close to power lines
  • When falling debris or tools from workers working above

Here are some steps companies and workers can take to improve their safety:

  • Make sure the individuals putting the scaffolding up is properly trained on how to construct it safely.
  • All workers working on scaffolding should be trained on how to do so and follow strict safety precautions.
  • Working at height can be extremely dangerous, so it’s important to avoid horseplay and maintain professionalism.

While these tips do not guarantee the prevention of a scaffold accident, they can be instrumental in helping keep everyone safe. In the event that a scaffold accident occurs and you suffer an injury, don’t wait to call for medical assistance, do so immediately.  Notify your company of what went wrong, who was involved and the types of injuries you have.  If you can jot down the information such as time it happened, weather conditions, and any other details you might need to remember later.  Finally, you may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if your injuries are keeping you from returning to work. This one step could be the best way to improve the financial strain of being out of work as you focus on recovery.

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