Construction company owners in Iowa sometimes compromise employee safety to get projects done sooner. Unfortunately, this may leave you and your co-workers extremely vulnerable. One danger zone on most construction sites is scaffolding. If your employer pays little or no attention to edge protectors, railings, barriers and fall protection, you might have to take steps to look after your own safety.
It is only natural to be concerned about how you will provide for your family if you should fall from a scaffold. Who will pay your medical bills, and what will happen if the workers’ compensation insurance program denies your claim? These are but some of the questions and issues of which an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can handle.
The precautionary steps you can take
Carelessness can claim lives or lead to catastrophic injuries that could have been preventable. Never let the rush to finish a day or two early jeopardize your safety. By taking the following steps to protect yourself from injuries when you work on a scaffold, you could significantly increase your odds of never being involved in a work-related accident:
- Identify possible hazards: Always assess your work area before starting every shift. Evaluate the condition and stability of the scaffolding structure and also its proximity to power lines. Consider potential problems if the scaffold will be moved during the shift.
- Do not rush: Communication, organization and time management can save time and speed up the job, while rushing can cause safety gaps that could endanger you and your co-workers.
- Organize your work area: Random objects on a scaffold platform can cause you to trip and fall. Disorganization in your work area will increase the risk of tools or equipment falling from the scaffold, which can cause a fatal blow to someone at a lower level.
- Request training: You are entitled to ask to receive safety training to protect you from harm. This includes training in the proper use of personal protective equipment. Wearing a fall harness will not save your life if the lanyard is not securely anchored.
- Know the rules: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes specific rules related to the erection of scaffolds. If you know those rules, you may be able to identify aspects that could compromise safety on a scaffolding structure.
- Repeat hazard assessment: Remain vigilant for potential safety hazards throughout the project. As work progresses, it is only natural for you and your co-workers to become familiar and comfortable with the construction site. Circumstances that could compromise the stability of a scaffold could change overnight.
If you take these precautions whenever you work on scaffolding structures, you will have a better chance of avoiding on-the-job injuries. However, if you are the victim of a scaffold collapse, you may find comfort in knowing that all you have to do is get the necessary medical care and report the incident to your employer. You have the right to leave the navigation of a workers’ compensation benefits claim to experienced legal counsel.