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Scaffolding inspections may prevent workplace accidents

With California's warm and relatively dry weather, construction crews can work year-round across the state. The men and women who make up these crews go to work every day, oftentimes with very little thought of their own personal safety while on the job. Yet, a construction accident can leave a worker with serious injuries and losses that can take quite a toll. They may suffer from damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, and they may be unable to work to help pay their bills while they recover from their injuries.

Fortunately, federal and state regulations aim to keep workers safe from workplace accidents. One area of construction that regulators assess is scaffolding. Approximately 65 percent of construction workers utilize scaffolding to perform their jobs, and accidents that involve scaffolding falls are typically more serious. Therefore, regulators from OSHA often inspect scaffolding for both design and construction.

Generally speaking, scaffolding must be able to support its own weight in addition to four times its listed maximum load. Suspension ropes should be inspected, too, holding at least six times their intended maximum load. OSHA may choose to inspect scaffolding during random inspections, but this often isn't enough to protect workers from employers who fail to adhere to regulations.

Unfortunately, improperly constructed scaffolding often leads to serious workplace injuries. These workers should be able to recover workers' compensation benefits for their injuries, but the process can be fraught with legal challenges. Therefore, those seeking to succeed on an initial claim, or challenge an initial ruling on appeal, may want to consider getting more information about the process.

Source: FindLaw, "Scaffold Injuries," accessed on Jan. 9, 2017

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