Scaffolds are common on construction sites in New York and across the country, as these raised platforms allow workers to reach and work at extreme heights. Unfortunately, though, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, scaffold accidents cause roughly 4,500 injuries and approximately 50 deaths every single year.
Scaffold collapses can be deadly, as workers might fall great distances or entangle themselves in debris. To ensure scaffolds remain in position, workers should understand why scaffolds usually fail. Here are four common reasons for scaffold collapses.
1. Improper erection
When erecting a scaffold, workers must place supports on a solid surface. They also must adequately brace the scaffold as it goes up and check for overhead obstacles. Regrettably, improper erection can cause a scaffold to fail.
2. Damaged components
Whether a scaffold is wooden or metal, its components are vulnerable to deterioration. Rusted, rotted, broken, bent or otherwise damaged components can weaken a scaffold, eventually leading to its collapse.
3. Design defects
Any scaffold is only as good as its design and manufacturing. Simply put, if a scaffold has design or manufacturing defects, it may not be strong enough to support its own weight after assembly.
4. Inadequate maintenance
Some scaffolds remain in place for months or even years. It is imperative for workers to inspect and maintain assembled scaffolds regularly. After all, skipped maintenance can increase a scaffold’s chances of failing and falling.
Ultimately, regardless of the reason a scaffold collapses, injured workers might have grounds to pursue significant financial compensation.