Scaffolding is often put up around existing buildings or construction areas to allow workers to reach areas which they may not normally be able to gain access to. When scaffolding is used correctly, it can be of great assistance to those working on the site, however if it has not been erected safely, it can become a danger to both site workers and the general public. If you have been injured because of damaged or incorrectly erected scaffolding, then you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
Workplace legislation in the United Kingdom is designed to protect those who regularly work with scaffolding. Employers must ensure that all scaffolding work is properly planned, that the appropriate equipment is used for every project and that those who are working at heights have been properly trained and assessed. Special care must be taken if the surface on which the scaffolding is being placed is fragile or uneven.
Everyone who is working with or near the scaffolding should be given the correct Personal Protective Equipment, and steps should be taken to ensure the safety of those who are walking underneath, especially if the scaffolding has been erected in a public place. Failure to abide by this legislation can put people at risk and can leave an employer open to claims of serious negligence.
Dangers Associated with Scaffolding
If scaffolding is not erected correctly, it may be at risk of collapse. If all of the scaffolding comes down, the results could be catastrophic. Even if only a small section of the scaffolding were to fall, it could result in serious injury for those below the structure or for those who were working on it at the time.
Although most scaffolding is required to have a safety rail, if that safety rail has not been attached correctly workers are at risk of falling from the structure. As they are working at height, any fall could cause serious injury or even death. There is also a serious risk to workers if the scaffolding pieces themselves are unsafe. Sharp edges and unprotected pieces can cause injury, and they suggest that the scaffolding is not suitable for use.
Typical Injuries in Scaffolding Accidents
The type of injuries which are sustained in a scaffolding accident can vary, due to the fact that a lot of different types of accidents can actually occur when working with this specialist equipment. Head injuries and neck injuries are very common occurrences if falling pieces of equipment hit those who are working below. Even small pieces of equipment can do serious damage when they fall from height.
Lacerations, burns, broken bones, puncture wounds and subsequent infections are common amongst those who are injured in accidents involving broken or damaged equipment. Rusty or jagged scaffolding pieces can do serious damage to scaffolding workers, and these problems can be exacerbated if the correct first aid procedure is not followed on site in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
If the safety rail has not been fitted to the scaffolding correctly, falls can easily happen, which can result in broken bones or paralysis. Many other serious injuries can occur due to incorrect use of scaffolding. Unfortunately, fatalities can also occur in some circumstances.
How to Begin your Claim
If you have been affected by a scaffolding accident and you are interested in making a claim for compensation, it is important that you do not delay. Most claims must be brought within 3 years of the accident or within 3 years of the original diagnosis linking your medical issue to the accident. It is therefore a good idea to seek the advice of a scaffolding accident claims specialist as soon as possible.
Many specialists will offer a free consultation session to potential clients, so that these clients are able to ascertain whether they have a valid claim or not. In order to ensure that the claims specialist is able to give you accurate and reliable advice, it is important that you are honest with them about the details of your accident and make sure that you give them as many details as you can about the accident. You may also need to let your lawyer have access to your medical records.