According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 65 percent of the construction industry works on scaffolds, and preventing scaffold-related accidents could prevent as many as 60 deaths a year. In this brief article, Tennessee OSHA defense attorneys will detail the training and safety procedures that can be implemented to help prevent construction workers from being injured while working on scaffolds. Failure to abide by OSHA’s regulations could result in a preventable injury on the jobsite and subsequent OSHA investigation.
OSHA Capacity Requirements
All scaffolds must be able to support their own weight and, at a minimum, four times the maximum intended load without failure. While scaffolds must be capable of carrying this maximum, they must never “be loaded in excess of their maximum intended loads or rated capacities, whichever is less.”
By OSHA standards, a competent person must train employees and inspect scaffolds and scaffolding components, among other tasks. OSHA defines a competent person as someone who is capable of identifying hazards and potential hazards and is authorized to take measures to remove them. When inspecting, this competent person must follow proper procedures when tagging a scaffold.
All employees must be properly trained to recognize and avoid scaffolds if they are damaged, slippery, or missing components, such as planks or guardrails. Employees must also never rock the scaffold, use the scaffold during inclement weather, lean over the guardrails, or move the scaffold while another person is using it.
All employees 10 feet off the ground must be protected by either a guardrail or a fall arrest system. Employees on a single-point and two-point adjustable suspended scaffold must be protected by both. Falling objects, such as tools, debris, and phones, also pose a serious threat on construction sites with scaffolds. For this reason, measures must be taken to ensure that scaffolds are clean and clutter free. Additional prevention systems that can be implemented are toeboards, screens, debris nets, catch platforms, canopy structures, and barricades. Obviously, construction workers must not chuck anything from the scaffold.
Consult an Attorney
The above only scratches the surface of OSHA’s regulations regarding scaffolding. As a contractor, it is your duty to protect your workers and provide them with a jobsite that is free of hazards that can lead to serious injury or death. If your construction workers are working on or around scaffolding, consult with a Tennessee OSHA defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.