Scaffolding Accidents in Delaware

Fighting for Workers Injured in Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding is used in many work settings for construction, cleaning, restorations, and repairs. Scaffolding is erected so that workers at heights have a platform to work from and can access parts of a structure that would otherwise be difficult to reach. A typical scaffold consists of a platform supported from below by load bearing legs, or suspended from above with ropes or other non-rigid materials. Aerial lifts and scissors lifts also fall under the OSHA definition of a scaffold.

OSHA estimates that 65 percent of construction work takes place on scaffolding. Painters, window cleaners, and maintenance workers must also routinely use scaffolding to do their work. These workers depend on safely erected and maintained scaffolding to protect their livelihoods and their lives. Risks involved with working on scaffolding include:

  • Falls – falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry
  • Scaffolding collapse – caused by structural defect or overloading
  • Struck-by accidents – tools, work materials, or debris falling from above can cause serious injury to workers on scaffolding
  • Electrocution – scaffolding erected near power lines presents a risk of electrocution

Scaffold Safety Standards

Thousands of workers are injured every year and some even die when improperly erected scaffolding collapses or planks give way. OSHA has strict standards designed to prevent the hazards associated with scaffold use from injuring workers. Employer compliance with OSHA standards is essential for providing a safe workplace.

A safe scaffold starts with the design. OSHA requires that the scaffolding design be carried out by a person with a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or by a person with extensive knowledge, training, and experience working with scaffolding. The designer must be a registered engineer for particularly challenging scaffolding designs. Anyone involved in the building or dismantling of scaffolding must have been properly trained by competent staff.

There are many different types of scaffolding such as mast climbers, pole, tube and coupler, ladder jack, pump jack, mobile, and specialty scaffolds. The proper type of scaffold must be chosen for the job and precautions taken to ensure it can bear the intended load. OSHA specifies requirements for each type of scaffold, but some general safety standards common to all scaffolds include:

  • The scaffold and its components must be able to bear four times the maximum intended weight without failure. Suspension cables for suspended platforms must be able to bear six times the maximum intended load
  • A scaffold may never be supported by loose objects
  • Planking must overlap by 12 inches and extend over the end supports by six to eighteen inches
  • The design and placement of scaffolding should avoid any electrical hazards
  • Where applicable, personal fall protection systems must be provided along with training on how to use and care for such equipment
  • Both scaffolding and fall protection systems should be inspected daily for signs of wear and any weaknesses before workers are allowed to begin their jobs

Liability in a Scaffolding Accident

If you were injured in a scaffolding accident at work, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system that provides benefits to cover medical costs related to your injury, wage loss benefits, disfigurement benefits if necessary, and partial or total disability benefits. Death benefits are available to families of workers who are fatally injured on the job.

You may also file a third party personal injury claim if someone other than your employer was negligent in building and maintaining the scaffolding that caused your injury. It will be necessary to prove that another party had a duty to provide for the safety of the workers and that failure to do so caused you harm.

Consulting with an experienced Delaware work injury lawyer is advisable in order to obtain the maximum compensation available to you under the circumstances of your work accident.

Delaware Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Pursue Claims for Those Injured in Scaffolding Accidents

If you have been injured in a work accident, turn to the Delaware construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for personal representation and experienced counsel. Let us handle your legal needs so you can focus on your recovery. Call our Wilmington office at (302) 427-9500, or Bear office at (302) 600-1107, or our Milford office at (302) 422-6705 today to schedule a free initial consultation or contact us online. We proudly serve work accident victims in Bear, Dover, Elsmere, Georgetown, Glasgow, Middletown, Milford, Newark, New Castle, Seaford, Smyrna, Wilmington and across Kent County, New Castle County, and Sussex County, Delaware.

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