Many of today’s construction workers work on scaffolding on a near-daily basis. These elevated platforms are a necessary part of construction and enable construction workers to reach heights they otherwise could not. However, they are also a common source of injury and fatality in the construction industry.
Per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, about 65% of today’s construction workers work on scaffolds on a regular basis.
Scaffolding injury and fatality statistics
Estimates suggest that preventing scaffolding accidents on construction sites would save about 60 lives a year. It would also prevent somewhere in the ballpark of 4,500 injuries on an annual basis. Many construction site scaffolding accidents could have been preventable had employers followed all scaffolding guidelines dictated by OSHA.
Scaffolding injury and fatality contributing factors
Many scaffolding accidents result from similar circumstances. According to one study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 70% of those injured in scaffolding accidents suffered injuries after slipping, having falling objects strike them or by having the plank or scaffold collapse or give way underneath them.
Scaffolding injury and fatality preventative measures
Construction workers may be able to reduce scaffolding-related risks by using adequate fall and head protection. They may be able to diminish risks even further by undergoing extensive training in electrical hazards. Exercising extreme care when erecting and dismantling scaffolds is also imperative.
Scaffolding accidents may cause minor injuries, or they may cause substantial, life-changing head, neck, back or spinal cord injuries or even fatalities.