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What fall protection measures must be taken on scaffolds?

A good portion of the work performed on a typical construction project is done above the ground and sometimes at very great heights. Obviously, this can present hazards for workers who would be seriously injured in the event of a fall. As such, protective measures must be in place to limit the possibilities of fall accidents occurring.

A scaffold can provide construction workers with a solid platform upon which to perform their tasks. But it is important that scaffolds be set up properly and equipped with the necessary fall protection devices.

Specifically, OSHA requires fall protection for all scaffolds that are more than 10 feet above ground level. Typically, the open ends of scaffolds should have guardrails, though in the case of supported scaffolds a harness can be used in lieu of guardrails. Additionally, guardrails are not required on the working side of the scaffold if the distance between the work area and the platform is under 14 inches or 18 inches in the case of lathing and plastering.

This is only a basic description of one of the many aspects of scaffold safety. Your employer should be aware of all OSHA regulations and should not allow or force you to work on a scaffold that does not comply with those regulations.

A fall from a scaffold could cause serious, long-term injuries. A worker who suffers a fall could not only face a lengthy hospital stay but a long period of convalescence as well. The medical costs coupled with time lost from work could lead to financial hardships for an injured worker and his or her family.

Therefore, if you were injured falling from a scaffold, you may wish to have the filing of your claim handled by an experienced workers' compensation attorney. An attorney can investigate the accident, assess your needs and work in an effort to help you maximize your benefits.

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Success Stories

  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
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  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
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