Safety authorities in California and elsewhere point to the fact that scaffold-related violations dropped from number one to number three on the list of most frequently cited safety violations. However, it remains at number three, which is still concerning. They say the number of workers’ compensation claims for falls from scaffolds can be significantly reduced if employers provide adequate safety training and frequent refresher sessions to prevent complacency. That requires a competent person on site who can not only assess the safety of scaffold structures but also provide the necessary training.
Safety standards require all workers on scaffolds to have fall protection if they are at levels higher than 10 feet above lower levels, and they must provide safe means of access whenever platforms are two feet or more below or above access points. Climbing cross braces pose significant risks, and jumping from levels higher than two feet can lead to knee and ankle injuries. Hook-on or portable ladders, ramps, personnel hoists, or other safe scaffold access must be provided.
Further regulations include the planking on scaffolding must be no more than one inch from the uprights, and guardrails must be installed according to prescribed standards. Toeboards can provide added security on structures exceeding heights of 10 feet. Lastly, scaffold legs, posts, poles, uprights and frames must be placed on mudsills and baseplates to ensure a firm foundation.
Although employers in California must comply with these standards to keep workers safe, scaffold-related injuries continue to occur. Injured workers are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical bills and lost wages. However, dealing with the claims process can be daunting for workers who are focused on recovering and getting back to work. This is where the skills of an experienced workers’ comp attorney can be invaluable. A lawyer can navigate the benefits claims process on behalf of the injured worker and work to obtain maximum benefits under the law.