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OSHA finds widespread violations of scaffold safety rules

Construction workers in Louisiana often use scaffolds, and they depend on these temporary platforms to hold their weight. When scaffolds collapse or people fall, serious injuries and even deaths result. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has many regulations in place to promote scaffold safety, but inspectors continually find improper scaffolding practices at job sites. This category of safety violation represents the third most common source of citations against employers.

In 2016, the agency issued 3,900 citations related to unsafe scaffolds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has calculated that 72 percent of scaffold accidents arise from falls and structurally deficient platforms. Annually, scaffold accidents hurt about 4,500 workers. About 60 fatalities occur every year as well.

Due to the dangers surrounding scaffolds, OSHA requires that competent people who know how to build scaffolds erect them at work sites and inspect them regularly. They should oversee the erection, movement, adjustment and tear down of all scaffolds and make sure that they are always at least 10 feet from electrical lines. Weakened or broken braces, brackets, screws or trusses should be fixed or replaced immediately. All workers on the scaffolds also require training about fall hazards and accident prevention.

Companies that fail to make safety a priority could increase the likelihood of a worker experiencing a workplace accident. A construction worker hurt on the job might have questions about how to apply for workers' compensation benefits, especially if the worker was a subcontractor or temporary employee. A case review by an attorney mgiht identify the applicable insurance policy and inform the person about available coverage. An attorney may be able to handle the paperwork and strive to overcome any barriers that an employer or insurer places between an injured worker and medical care. To pursue a settlement, an attorney might recommend going to court.

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