Scaffolding can be a critical component of any major construction project in Maryland. However, while its purpose is to make worksites safer and more accessible for workers, it can also cause unsafe conditions and accidents that ultimately endanger people.
Some of the common causes for scaffolding failures and accidents include:
- Improper construction: Erecting scaffolding requires careful attention and proper construction. If parties fail to follow directions or if parts are broken or defective, the integrity of the system – and the safety of those on the structures – can be in jeopardy.
- Nature: High winds, flying debris, rain, ice and hail can all cause problems for scaffolding and those who are on it. It can make surfaces slippery or cause the structure to sway, tip or collapse. As such, when the weather is bad, workers should stay off scaffolding. Upon returning to the site, inspecting the scaffolding’s integrity can be wise.
- Reckless parties: Bystanders and others who have no role in a construction project can compromise the safety of scaffolding when they are careless. For instance, recently, an unlicensed driver was speeding and lost control of his vehicle. He crashed into scaffolding, causing it to collapse. Luckily, no one was on the structure at the time.
- Substandard materials: Even when scaffolding is built correctly, it can put workers at risk if platforms, beams, tubes, locks, ladders or other parts are defective or of poor quality. Thus, contractors and workers should inspect materials before and during a project to ensure they are not weak, broken or missing.
It may not be possible to stop every scaffolding accident from occurring, especially those caused by others’ recklessness or unexpected weather events. However, when contractors and workers understand the risks that come with working on scaffolding, they can appreciate the importance of maximizing efforts to prevent accidents and stay safer in the event that one occurs.