The construction industry is known for a significant percentage of fatalities resulting from falls every year. Many of these deaths result from falls off unsafe scaffolding structures. As a construction worker in Nebraska, you might even have had to cope with the trauma of seeing a co-worker fall to his or her death during a scaffold collapse.
Despite the fact that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes detailed guidelines and safety regulations about the erection of scaffolds, some construction company owners disregard these in favor of speeding up the process. Many fail to recognize the fact that prevention of workplace injuries can significantly improve the bottom line.
Essential scaffold safety protocols
Along with all the detailed rules about constructing a scaffold structure, there are a few basic tips to protect construction workers on scaffolds. If your employer takes care of the following aspects, you may be one of the lucky ones who can be fairly sure of returning home safely after every shift:
- Review the site-- While a proper site assessment before erecting scaffolding is essential, continuing to review the site throughout a construction project can preemptively take care of any hazards or dangerous situations that may arise. Complacency can develop as time goes on, but remaining vigilant can prevent catastrophes.
- Identify hazards -- A thorough inspection by a qualified professional before every shift may also ensure the ongoing safety of the scaffold by addressing safety issues before any workers' ascent. If the scaffold's position must change during a shift, a proper assessment of the new location will be necessary along with an overview of the proximity of overhead power lines. A prearranged plan of action for the move can avoid delays and unanticipated structural issues.
- Appropriate training -- If you and your co-workers are trained in the construction of scaffolds as per the OSHA regulations, you can secure a structure that will not pose a collapse-risk.
- Organized workplace -- You can avoid hazards that can cause slip-and-fall accidents by maintaining an organized work area on the scaffold. Managing the organization of tools can prevent falls of both workers and the tools. People on ground level have died from being struck by tools that fell from overhead scaffolds.
- Don't rush-- Employers who rush their workers and subject them to unrealistic deadlines may not realize that by compromising employee safety, the timely completion of the project may also be in jeopardy.
If you are on a stable and safe structure and equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment during every shift throughout a project, you should not have to fear a scaffold collapse. However, if your employer is one who prioritizes speed and profits over employee safety, you may find yourself injured and in a hospital sooner or later. Fortunately, the Nebraska workers' compensation insurance program will cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages.