St. Jude’s Scaffolding Collapse Shows Dangers Of Construction Work

Construction worker with scaffolding

1/23/2020 Construction Injuries,Workplace Accidents John Whitfield

A Tennessee construction worker found himself dangling off of the side of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital when the scaffolding that was supporting him collapsed. Unfortunately, incidents like this have become commonplace for construction workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found 21% of all workplace fatalities occurred in the construction industry, a statistic that could have been reduced by following federal safety guidelines.

Dangers of Scaffolding

Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to aid in construction. While scaffolding is widely used across the construction industry, it is the source of many jobsite accidents and presents numerous dangers to workers when it is not assembled and inspected properly. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), 72% of workers injured in scaffolding accidents were hurt either by the scaffolding collapsing or the employee slipping or being struck by an object.

Leading Causes of Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding can be a helpful tool for construction workers when properly maintained. Unfortunately, as is the case in many construction accidents, failure to routinely inspect equipment, improper set-up, and lack of safety equipment can lead to fatal consequences.

Lack of Proper Support

Scaffolding allows a worker to be elevated to greater heights in order to complete their job. Oftentimes, an employee working on a scaffolding system will find himself or herself balancing on a narrow platform with limited space for equipment and heavy tools. When scaffolding lacks proper support, it is unable to hold the worker and their equipment. This can result in floor planking giving out underneath the worker causing them to fall, as well as cause the equipment and tools to fall, which have the potential to strike workers below, causing additional injuries.

Failing Guardrails

Guardrails on scaffolding systems are key to creating a safe environment for construction workers. Guardrails must be properly connected to all open sides of scaffolding to act as a fall barrier. In addition, proper guardrails include a toe-board that serves as a barrier preventing objects from being kicked or shoved off of the scaffold platform, potentially causing an injury to workers below.

Scaffolding Related Injuries

When a worker falls or is struck by an object as a result of a scaffolding accident, serious injuries and even death can occur. The severity of injuries from scaffolding accidents can be life-changing and costly. The leading cause of construction worker fatalities is falls, which led to 338 deaths. An object striking a worker is the second cause. Common injuries associated with scaffolding accidents include:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Broken bones
  • Deep lacerations
  • Paralysis

It is unacceptable to consider construction industry accidents as the “norm.” Most workplace accidents are preventable if employers take responsibility for their workers’ safety and wellbeing. When employers fail to do their job, employees pay the price.

Nashville Attorneys for Workplace Injuries

Teaming up with an experienced legal team can ensure you get the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know were injured at work, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. The attorneys at Whitfield Bryson LLP have handled many complicated workplace negligence claims and know how to get you on the road to recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.