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How can I prevent a scaffold accident?

If you've been involved in a scaffold accident, you may be suffering or recovering from serious and debilitating injuries that prevent you from being able to perform your job duties. Even falls from very short distances can kill a person, cause catastrophic spinal cord damage or disabling head injuries. Let's take a look at a few things that every employer and employee should be doing to prevent these kinds of injuries.

First, employers have a duty to ensure that everyone who erects or uses scaffolding is appropriately trained. This training is also required by safety regulations. Training should include safe practices regarding the use and construction of scaffolding, in addition to how to use safety equipment like lanyards and harnesses.

Second, workers should take the time they need to use the scaffolding safely and never rush to set it up. Legs should be plumb, braces should be secure and all decks and guardrails should be fully installed. Scrimping on safety details is always a recipe for disaster. Take the time that is required to make sure everyone is safe.

Third, follow the laws. Safety rules and regulations exist to make sure no one gets hurt. Although in some cases a safety detail might be skipped and nothing tragic happens, if safety rules are followed to the letter, it will prevent the vast majority of accidents and injuries. Follow the law, and avoid injury. It's that simple.

Fourth, and finally, maintain the repair of scaffolding. When ropes start to fray, when bolts and other parts start to wear out, replace them. A competently trained individual should be in charge of regularly inspecting and maintaining the safety of all scaffolding used at every job site.

In spite of the best-laid plans -- even if every safety detail is covered -- scaffolding accidents can still happen. Fortunately, in these circumstances New Jersey workers will usually be covered by workers compensation insurance; therefore, workers hurt while using scaffolding can file a claim to seek money to pay for their injuries.

Source: cos-mag.com, "10 scaffold safety essentials," Michelle Mora, accessed July 06, 2016

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