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Safety standards for scaffolds use in the construction industry

One of the most frequent citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for construction work involves scaffolding. The hazards associated with the use of scaffolding are significant, accounting for fatalities each year in the construction industry.

The Safety Standards for Scaffolds Use in the Construction Industry is OSHA's rule, in place to protect those who work with scaffolding. There are several provisions to this rule, including:

-- Inspections: Before each shift or after something happens that could affect the scaffold's structural integrity, it must be inspected for defects by a competent person.

--Fall arrest systems and fall protection: Every employee who is over 10 feet above a lower level must be protected by a fall arrest system or guardrails.

-- Capacity: Scaffolds and related components must be able to support at least four times the maximum load. Rigging must support at least 6 times the maximum load.

-- Training: Each employee must go through training on the possible hazards and how to best control them.

-- Guardrail height: For scaffolds used after Jan. 1, 2000, the height of the toprail must be between 38 inches and 45 inches.

There are specific instances when the person inspecting the scaffolding must a competent person, a qualified person or an engineer. The instances are quite complex and are listed in OSHA's scaffold law.

If you have been injured in a scaffold accident or you lost a loved in a scaffold accident, you have a right to pursue workers' compensation benefits or workers' compensation death benefits. If your claim is denied, an experienced attorney can help you file an appeal.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry," accessed Nov. 08, 2016

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