Noncompliance With OSHA Regulations As A Factor In Scaffold Accidents

Law Blog

Noncompliance with standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is connected with large numbers of construction accidents every year. For example, thousands are injured while on scaffolds. Construction workers who are not employed by a company but instead do jobs on contract do not qualify for workers' compensation benefits. Often, seriously injured individuals must hire a construction accident attorney to obtain the compensation they deserve.

Relevant Statistics

A full 65 percent of construction workers do at least some of their jobs on scaffolds. That's about 2.3 million men and women. About 4,500 scaffold-related injuries are reported each year. More than 60 fatal accidents happen on average.

In most of these cases, workers fall from the scaffold because they slip or the platform fails. Other injuries happen when workers are struck by objects falling from above. Most of the incidents are preventable if companies, supervisors, and workers would fully comply with OSHA regulations.

Personal Protective Equipment

Scaffold workers should always wear protective gear such as roped harnesses to prevent falls. That way, if someone slips or accidentally steps off of the platform, the fall is stopped. The same is true if the platform fails. 

Unfortunately, sometimes workers do not put on the harnesses. They may never be provided with the devices. Some quit wearing this gear because it is uncomfortable and their supervisors don't bother enforcing the regulations.

Guardrail Issues

In other instances, falls happen because guardrails were never installed or were installed incorrectly. OSHA requires guardrails on certain kinds of scaffolding.

Severity of Injuries

Injuries caused by these incidents can be severe. The individual may need surgery and a lengthy hospital stay. Convalescent care in a skilled nursing facility or from home health care nurses may be necessary. Physical therapy often is required.

Going back to the job may be impossible for several months. Some can never return to their previous occupation because they now have a certain level of permanent disability.

A Personal Injury Case

A seriously injured individual may hire a construction accident attorney to negotiate with the company's insurer for a fair settlement. Since benefits will not be paid through workers' compensation, this is considered to be a personal injury case. If the insurer is uncooperative, the attorney will file suit against the company. Most of these cases never proceed to trial, though. Insurance companies do not want the risk of a jury awarding a much larger amount than the lawyer originally requested.


16 March 2021