Working in construction means taking certain risks, but you probably do your best to stay safe on the job. If your employer hires a professional outside company to install, erect and remove scaffolding for your major construction projects, you may feel grateful to know that people with scaffolding-specific knowledge are the ones maintaining this critical infrastructure for your company.
Unfortunately, as with any business that provides a service, scaffolding companies can make mistakes or do a subpar job. The end result of a mediocre scaffolding installation could be a worker who slips or falls and gets hurt.
Scaffolding is safer and easier to use than ladders when working on the outside of large buildings. However, being out on scaffolding comes with many job risks, including the potential for a fall or to drop objects or equipment that could hurt people on levels below you.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 72% of workers hurt in scaffolding incidents reported faulty scaffolding, slipping or falling objects as the cause of their incident. When the supports or planks used to make scaffolding break or detach, the issue could be the result of using weakened, aged or cheap materials, as well as cutting corners during the installation of the scaffolding.
In other words, thousands of injuries in roughly 60 deaths a year are the result of issues with scaffolding, some of which might be the responsibility of a company other than the one performing the construction work.
Standard workplace protections may not apply in a scenario where an insurance company can point to negligence or subpar safety precautions as the primary reason for an injury. In a scenario where you get hurt because scaffolding built by an outside company fails, you may have the right to hold that company accountable through a civil lawsuit.
Doing so can help protect you by connecting you with compensation for your injuries and lost wages and can also protect your employer by creating a legal record that the fault for the issue lies not with them but with another business.