Falls from heights are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and this category is largely made up of falls from scaffolds. As such, there are some very strict regulations on scaffold safety overseen by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration that cover how to safely construct, maintain and use scaffolds. Many states also have additional recommendations to make scaffolds even safer for use.
Some common examples of scaffold safety regulations are the following:
- Scaffolds must be able to support at least four times the anticipated necessary weight
- Scaffolds must not be supported by loose objects
- Planking must overlap by at least 12 inches
- All plants should extend past end supports by six to 18 inches
- Construction sites must have overhead protection available when work is being conducted overhead
- Lean-to and shore scaffolds are not allowed
- Workers should not allow debris, tools and materials to accumulate on scaffolds
Proving liability in a scaffold accident
To be successful in a personal injury claim stemming from a scaffold accident, you must be able to prove that the defendant had a duty of care to you, that the defendant breached that duty and that the breach directly resulted in damages.
But who exactly owes you that duty of care? Not all entities involved in construction projects have it. But any party in charge of providing, setting up, maintaining or moving scaffolding is required to exercise reasonable care in these actions to ensure the safety of all workers at the construction site. Additionally, any party with decision-making power at a construction site must protect workers' safety. That responsibility includes ensuring scaffolds are safe for use.
To learn more about how to proceed with a construction accident lawsuit after your injury on a job site, work with a trusted San Diego personal injury lawyer at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.