New Jersey Scaffolding Accident Lawyers
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The Dangers of Scaffoldings on Construction Sites
Construction workers often find themselves continually adapting to an ever-changing landscape as the building they are working on begins to grow and take shape. To reach the sections that need work high off the ground, scaffoldings are commonly used, putting workers dozens of feet in the sky where they can easily get to normally inaccessible areas.
Scaffolds are valuable tools in the construction industry; in fact, many tasks could not be done without them. However, they are also frequently the cause of some of the most serious work-related accidents experienced on a job site. Each year, construction workers are severely injured in accidents that involve scaffolding. The risk of injury and death is high in these situations because of being a good deal of distance away from the ground. If you have been injured in a scaffolding accident while on the job, contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. today. Our experienced New Jersey construction accident lawyers may be able to recover what you have lost.
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Different Types of Scaffolding
Scaffolding is an elevated, temporary work platform that is used in construction work. There are three basic types of scaffolds:
- Supported scaffolds, which consist of one or more platforms supported by rigid, load-bearing members, such as poles, legs, frames, outriggers, etc.
- Suspended scaffolds, which are one or more platforms suspended by ropes or other non-rigid, overhead support.
- Other scaffolds, typically man lifts, personnel hoists, etc., which are sometimes thought of as vehicles or machinery, but can be regarded as another type of supported scaffold.
According to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Heath Administrations), close to 2.3 million construction employees work on scaffolding on a regular basis, and approximately 4,500 construction workers suffer serious and often fatal injuries each year due to improper scaffolding safety precautions and employer negligence. These work accidents still occur even though many state and federal regulations, as well as industry standards, require owners, general contractors and sub-contractors to implement a wide variety of safety measures.
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Factors That Can Turn Scaffolding Into a Hazard
Scaffolds are required for numerous types of construction projects, making them a familiar piece of equipment to see in use on a job site, but even the most experienced construction workers can suddenly become the victim of a scaffolding accident. There are several situations that may cause a scaffold to turn into a serious work hazard.
- Poor Assembly: Since scaffolds are temporary structures, they are meant to be assembled and disassembled with ease. However, this also means that improper assembling can compromise the durability of the platform. If proper precautions are not taken, the scaffolding could collapse in part or as a whole, sending a worker to the ground in a free fall with the potential to hit anything in his or her way with tremendous force. There is also the possibility of material raining down on anyone who happens to be standing below.
- Passersby: While these structures are designed to be sturdy, they are still susceptible to damage. If workers, pedestrians, or even vehicles are passing by accidentally ram into the scaffold, it may become significantly damaged, leading to a worker’s injury. Additionally, smaller scaffolds are more likely to quake upon being struck, which could send an employee over the edge.
- Falling Objects: Not all dangers are for those at the top of the scaffold. If those working above drop an object, anyone standing below could be struck. Any material could be dangerous when plunging downward from a considerable height, but the objects that are commonly dropped can pose a particularly high threat. These include hammers, wrenches, buckets, and other types of heavy equipment.
- Faulty Manufacturing: Sometimes, a scaffold accident is not the fault of any worker. Rather, it is due to the faulty manufacturing of the materials that make up the scaffolding. If wooden boards are compromised or the rods used to create the structure of the scaffold are poorly made, these could break and bend under pressure. Usually, workers will not be aware of any danger until it’s too late, as the scaffold will likely only fail after being put to use.
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New Jersey Scaffolding Safety Requirements
Standards have been established for scaffolds, and employers must adhere to the mandated requirements. Some of the most important safety requirements are as follows:
- Each scaffold and scaffold component must support without failure, its own weight, and at least four times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it.
- They must be secured against movement by tiebacks installed at right angles to the face of the building or structure, or by opposing angle tiebacks installed and secured to a structurally sound point of anchorage.
- No more than two employees should occupy suspension scaffolds designed for a working load of 500 pounds.
- No more than three employees should occupy suspension scaffolds designed for a working load of 750 pounds.
- A qualified person must design the scaffolds, which are loaded in accordance with that design.
- Scaffolds and scaffold components must not be loaded in excess of their maximum intended loads or rated capacities, whichever is less.
- All suspension scaffold support devices, such as outrigger beams, cornice hooks, and parapet clamps, must rest on surfaces capable of supporting at least four times the load imposed on them.
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Protecting Your Rights as a Worker in New Jersey
Even with these strict regulations put in place, many employers continue to act in an irresponsible and negligent manner. In the wake of an on-the-job accident, a worker may suffer from devastating and life-altering injuries. Thankfully, workers’ compensation allows those who have been hurt while completing their job duties to seek compensation covering medical needs and lost wages.
The New Jersey work injury attorneys with Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. have helped numerous workers prove that their losses qualify for compensation. Through this, our clients have a chance for a better future for themselves and their families. Get in touch with a member of our legal team at (609) 240-0040 to find out more about how we may be able to assist you.
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