Scaffolding Collapse in NJ- How Often Do These Accidents Happen?
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous when it comes to employee accidents and injuries, yet many serious construction accidents are preventable. According to a recent article from the Associated Press, seven construction workers in Hackensack suffered serious injuries “when scaffolding on which they were standing collapsed.” The construction workers fell around 45 feet, according to the report, and two of the workers sustained critical injuries in the accident.
According to a fact sheet from OSHA, about 2.3 million construction workers (or 65% of the construction industry) do their work on scaffolds. Given the necessary and frequent use of scaffolding, it is essential for construction employers to take steps to prevent scaffold-related accidents. OSHA estimates that scaffold protections could prevent a number of construction-related deaths and injuries each year that result from scaffolding accidents.
Learning More About Construction Accident Prevention
Scaffolding can be dangerous, but employers can take preventive actions to help limit the total number of scaffold-related accidents and fatalities each year. The following are some significant facts and figures from OSHA concerning scaffolding accidents and injuries:
- In total, about 4,500 scaffold-related accidents occur annually; and
- About 60 construction workers will die each year as a result of a scaffolding accident.
What causes scaffolding accidents to happen? A majority (72%) of employees injured in scaffolding accidents cited the following as the most common causes of scaffolding accidents:
- Planking giving way;
- Support giving way;
- Employee slipping and falling; or
- Employee being struck by a falling object.
According to OSHA, each of these reported accidents “can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards.” As part of its eTools, OSHA also recommends that employers take some of the following steps to ensure workers are not placed at an unnecessary risk of accidents and injuries:
- Regularly evaluate “operations, procedures, facilities, and equipment to identify hazards;”
- Allow employees to voice concerns about safety hazards without worrying about their employment status;
- Inform employees of known hazards;
- Ensure that regular injury prevention inspections take place;
- Ensure that tools and materials are in compliance with safety standards;
- Assign injury prevention responsibilities;
- Remove tripping hazards, such as scrap and debris, from work areas;
- Provide employees with personal protective equipment;
- Properly train employees to recognize safety risks and hazards;
- Properly train workers to recognize, avoid, and report unsafe working conditions; and
- Provide training for dangerous materials, including ladders, stairways, and scaffolding.
Construction workers in New Jersey often suffer serious and even fatal injuries on the job, but many of the accidents that result in these injuries are indeed avoidable. If you or someone you love sustained injuries at work, contact an experienced New Jersey construction accident lawyer to learn more about your rights.