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Scaffolding collapse raises questions about construction safety

Concerns about construction safety have recently surfaced after a tragic accident near Orlando, Florida. Two construction workers were pouring concrete for a new hotel when part of their scaffold collapsed. The workers fell six floors and died on the scene. A third worker was able to grab onto a part of the scaffold and pull himself out of harm’s way.

The exact cause of the accident is still unknown. Unfortunately, failing scaffolds are nothing new in the construction industry. Every now and then, the news will feature footage of workers dangling from great heights, scaffolding plunging with them.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 72 percent of workers injured in scaffolding incidents can blame various circumstances, which includes:

  • An employee slipping
  • An employee being struck by falling objects
  • Planking or support of scaffolding giving way

OSHA standards are in place to prevent such accidents. However, construction companies are responsible for enforcing safety guidelines and regulations. There are various requirements to follow and tips to consider when using scaffolds, such as:

  • Qualification: Construction companies need to properly train employees before they use scaffolds. Training should address how to safely get on and off scaffolding and how to respond to emergency situations.
  • Inspection: Support structures require maintenance and routine inspection. A licensed professional should keep a close eye on scaffolding. If a construction worker is concerned about a scaffold’s integrity, they should immediately contact their superior.
  • Organization: Scaffolds offer limited space. It’s vital to stay under load capacity and use tools to keep the area safe. Walkways should be dry and free of obstructions to minimize the chance of slip and falls.

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  • Walter J. Roesch IV
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