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Ways to avoid construction injuries involving scaffolding

All New Yorkers should be safe when they go to work. They should not have to wonder if they will make it home at the end of the day. But some jobs have inherent risks. Construction workers, in particular, have more on-the-job risks than the typical New Yorker. They have to work around large tools and heavy machinery. They have to work below ground and in high spaces.

One condition these spaces often have in common is scaffolding. Scaffolding must be used appropriately, otherwise it can cause serious risks. Indeed, more than two million workers use scaffolding regularly. But many are hurt unnecessarily. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that roughly 50 deaths and another 4,500 injuries could be prevented nationwide if scaffolding was consistently erected and used correctly.

That raises the question: how should scaffolding be erected and used? OSHA has some recommendations. For one, scaffolds should be made of scaffold-grade planks. They should also be installed by someone who knows what he or she is doing. As part of the installation, the scaffold foundation must be on solid ground, not on an unstable surface like bricks, blocks, barrels and boxes. Once the scaffold is in place, it must be able to carry not only its weight, but also four times the load it is expected to hold without shifting or moving. The scaffolding must also have guardrails and other safety features aimed at preventing falls.

Following these tips can make scaffolding safer. But no amount of safety measures will eliminate all construction injuries. It is an unavoidable aspect of the job. When construction-related injuries happen, injured New Yorkers may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: OSHA.gov, "Worker Safety Series - Scaffolding," Accessed June 9, 2015

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