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How can you prevent scaffold injuries at work in Maryland?

Since around 65 percent of construction employees work on scaffolding, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it's no surprise that scaffolding injuries are some of the most common injuries in the workplace. If you've ever been hurt on a scaffold in Maryland, you know that the injuries can be severe. Falling from heights, slipping or striking body parts can cause serious injuries like brain trauma, broken bones or even result in you being impaled; none of these injuries are anything you want to have happen at work.

To make sure you stay safer at work, OSHA has regulated scaffold usage. For instance, the scaffold's design must meet with OSHA requirements for the rated capacities, use and construction methods. How much weight should it hold? OSHA regulations state that each scaffold and scaffold component needs to be able to hold its own weight plus four times the maximum load without failure. Suspension ropes, which are also used on these scaffolds, must hold six or more times the maximum intended load.

With such a high load capacity, it would make you wonder why some scaffolds fail. It could be a result of user error, but more likely, it wasn't up to standard. You can see if your scaffold is up to standard by doing a proper inspection. A competent person, which means anyone who is legally able to do so and understands what to look for, should inspect the scaffold and components every work shift. This will help identify any issues with the scaffold and allow damage to be repaired before use.

If you've been hurt due to a scaffold collapse or other construction issue, speaking to someone who knows your rights may be a good idea. If your workplace isn't safe, someone should make sure it is better regulated, and with your help, you could change the way your workplace runs while getting the compensation you need.

Source: FindLaw, "Scaffold Injuries" Nov. 04, 2014

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