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How can employers prevent scaffolding falls?

The erection of scaffolding is essential on many construction sites in Connecticut. But if not erected properly, scaffolding may present the possibility of serious construction worker injuries due to falls.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent scaffolding falls and other injuries associated with the use of scaffolding, and employers should help ensure that conditions are safe for scaffolding use. Scaffolds should not be used within ten feet of electric power lines, and the ropes, whether natural or synthetic, used in suspension scaffolding ought to be shielded from sources that produce heat.

The safe and careful erection of scaffolding is essential for construction workers' safety, and safety must be paramount on a construction site where scaffolding is used. Scaffolding should be erected on a solid footing with no unstable objects used to support the scaffolding. It should have safety features such as midrails, toeboards and guardrails in place for workers' protection. Any accessories that become loose or damaged must receive prompt repair. A loose truss or bracket can lead to a dangerous construction site accident.

Safe scaffolding should effectively carry not only its own weight, but also four times its maximum intended load without disruption. To ensure its continued safety, scaffolding must be inspected by a "competent person" initially and at additional designated intervals. Furthermore, a competent person must provide supervision whenever scaffolding is moved, dismantled or altered. Employers should provide employees with information about the potentially hazardous use of diagonal braces as fall protection.

Unfortunately, injuries do occur from scaffolding falls and other construction site accidents. A worker who has been injured on a construction site may wish to seek legal guidance to discuss his or her rights and options.

Source: osha.gov, "Worker Safety Series: Construction," accessed Jan. 8, 2016

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