Scaffolds are a common feature on many Minnesota construction sites, and if you make your living working in the industry, odds are, you have relied on them to help you perform work at some point. While scaffolds, or elevated, short-term work platforms, can help you perform work at higher elevations, they are also inherently dangerous, and the hazards you face working on or near scaffolds can increase considerably if you fail to follow safety protocols.
Just what types of hazards and injury risks do you face as someone who utilizes scaffolds?
You and the other members of your team must be extremely careful when deciding where to raise your scaffolds to make sure there are no obstructions overhead that can impact safety. Power lines in the vicinity, for example, pose a substantial threat, and raising your platforms too close to power lines can increase your chances of electrocution.
Many scaffolding-related accidents and injuries result from falls from scaffolds. If you do not exercise extreme care, you may simply misstep, falling to the ground below, or you may fall if the scaffold collapses underneath you, which can occur if it bears too much weight or is improperly erected.
Blunt trauma risks
While you face certain dangers when working on top of scaffolds, your crew on the ground beneath the scaffolds does, too. If those working on scaffolds do not do enough to secure tools and other items needed to perform job duties, they can fall to the ground below, potentially striking anyone working underneath in the head or another part of the body. Those working on the ground near scaffolds also face risks if the scaffold collapses on top of them, which can cause serious injuries and even death.
The construction industry is inevitably dangerous, and so, too, is performing work at heights. Your employer can do its part to improve job site safety by making sure all workers consistently follow safety guidelines.