Shreveport Scaffolding Accidents and Injuries
Workplace Accident Law Firm in Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
Helping those who have been injured in Louisiana due to a scaffolding accident.
Very often do companies require the use of scaffolding for construction. In fact, it is a necessary measure (for the most part) when tall structures are being renovated, painted, or built. Shreveport and Bossier City both have a large number of high-rise buildings that require the use of scaffolds, whether it be for construction, window cleaning, painting, or general maintenance. Overall, scaffolds are extremely useful for a number of reasons, but they do pose the risk for danger. Unfortunately, due to the high elevation and the lack of permanent installation and security, scaffolding accidents occur relatively often. These accidents can be catastrophic, potentially leading to severe injury or death.
What is Scaffolding in Construction?
Scaffolding is an essential part of the construction process, as the majority of all construction workers require this temporarily elevated structure that allows for renovation and building. There are many different kinds of scaffolds, both supported and suspended, that workers use when they need an elevated surface to move forward with their construction goals.
In addition to holding the worker themselves, scaffolding is also designed to hold material and equipment. Scaffolds are generally constructed to hold four times the amount of weight that is expected or intended. It is important that they have some leeway when it comes to weight distribution. The further away construction workers are from maximum weight capacity, the better. Too much weight can cause overloading and lead to potentially devastating scenarios.
How Do Scaffolding Accidents Occur?
There are many ways in which a scaffolding accident may occur. In fact, they are one of the most common construction injuries in Louisiana. Accidents like these are most likely to occur due to the following:
- Part failure at attachment points
- Improper construction
- Improper operating procedures
- Workers falling
- Falling objects and materials
- Overloading of scaffolding
- Inadequate fall protection
- Inadequate work rules
- Environmental conditions
- Wind, rain, icy weather, presence of toxic gases, etc.
The majority of fatalities in the construction industry occur when workers fall from extreme heights. Even if the scaffolding is properly constructed and safety measures are in place, there is no way to completely prevent accidents such as trips, slips, and falls. In addition, there is no way to entirely eliminate the possibility of objects or materials falling from scaffolds and striking workers or others.
Though it is often construction workers who receive on-the-job injuries through such accidents, they are not the only ones who might be injured. When construction takes place in a public area, pedestrians, bystanders, and the general public below the scaffolding may also receive serious injuries from an accident.
Construction injuries can be dangerous and often life-threatening, specifically when scaffolding is involved. It is extremely important that construction companies have properly trained and skillful workers who erect, dismantle, and work on the scaffolding. This will ensure that everyone involved with the process can do so in the safest and most efficient manner.
What are the Most Common Scaffolding Injuries?
Because scaffolds are used to reach heights that would otherwise be unreachable, they often tower hundreds of feet in the air. This makes most scaffolding accidents that occur extremely dangerous, generally resulting in serious injury or even wrongful death. The most common injuries that result from a scaffolding accident include the following:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Head Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Broken Bones
What are the Main Causes of Deaths and Injuries on Scaffolds?
The majority of injuries and fatalities that occur on scaffolds include the scaffold support or planking collapsing, workers slipping, or objects falling from above. Though these are the most prevalent, they aren’t the only causes of accidents on scaffolds. Other factors may come into play, such as the environment. Environmental conditions like heavy wind, rain, or otherwise stormy weather seriously contributes to scaffolding accident stats.
Another less common but still prevalent cause of death and injury on a scaffold is electrocution, often due to workers being in too close proximity to power or utility lines. Inadequate fall protection and overloading of scaffolds also contribute to some of the main causes of death and injury.
Scaffolding Accident Statistics
In a report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- 65% of the construction industry (nearly 2.3 million workers) works on scaffolding.
- Approximately 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths occur as a result of scaffolding accidents per year.
- 25% of all fatal falls from working surfaces are falls from scaffolds.
- 72% of scaffolding accidents and injuries can be attributed to 1 of the following 3 scenarios:
- Defective equipment or improper assembly causing the scaffolding support or planking to give out from beneath the worker.
- Falling objects striking the worker on the scaffold and causing them to fall.
- Slippery surfaces or lack of railing causing the worker to slip or trip while on the scaffold.
- The other 28% of scaffolding accidents and injuries can be attributed to:
- Electrocution as a result of scaffolding and equipment being too close in proximity to power or utility lines.
- Environmental conditions.
- Collapsed scaffolding due to overloading.
- Inadequate fall protection.
- Employers lose over $90 million dollars in workdays per year as a result of scaffolding accidents and injuries.