The construction industry regularly involves the use of scaffolding to aid construction workers when they are required to work at height. Not surprisingly, because injuries resulting from falls are a relatively common occurrence in the construction industry, certain regulations have been introduced that place an added responsibility on employers to take steps to reduce the risk of a fall and/or minimise the prospects of a serious injury occurring in the event that a fall cannot be avoided. Unfortunately, injuries associated with scaffolding are not limited to those affecting construction workers. Members of the public can also sustain serious consequences if adequate care is not taken. In this article we look at the regulations that have been introduced to reduce the risk of injury from scaffolding and identify the main causes of scaffolding accidents.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005
These regulations apply whenever work at height is being undertaken and therefore clearly apply to situations where scaffolding is being used. The regulations create a responsibility to carry out a proper assessment of the risks associated with the work, the protective measures required in the light of that risk and the competencies and training needs of the workers involved in the project. The type of protective measures that might be considered include the use of guard rails, harnesses, anchoring and fall prevention and cushioning equipment.
In addition to the regulations, those who erect and/or employ people on scaffolding are under a general duty to take reasonable care to ensure that those using the scaffolding or likely to be affected by it do not suffer harm. This means that the equipment itself should be in a god condition, that it should be erected properly and that it is subjected to continuing inspection to ensure its ongoing stability.
Types of Scaffolding Accident
- The most common type of scaffolding accident is where a worker sustains a fall. This might be caused by the scaffolding parts being worn or the planks being cracked or otherwise defective. It could also be due to inadequate construction of the scaffolding, which might include the failure to properly tie ladders and planks. On rare occasions, a complete collapse of the scaffolding may be the cause of a fall.
- The second likely cause of scaffolding accidents is where an object falls and strikes a worker or a member of the public. As the construction industry involves many heavy tools and other hazardous objects, the consequences of being struck by a falling object can be severe.
Can you claim compensation for injuries caused by a scaffolding accident?
If you sustain personal injuries as a consequence of a scaffolding accident it is possible that you will be able to make a claim for compensation. To do so, you will need to prove that a third party was responsible for the accident, through their negligence or, alternatively, through breaching the Work at Height Regulations. If you wish to make a claim it must be made within three years of the accident in order to ensure that it does not become statute barred, so it is important to arrange an appointment with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. As injuries caused by scaffolding accidents can be extremely serious, it is also advisable to consult a personal injury solicitor with experience in this particular type of case. The team at Accinet are experienced in all types of personal injury law and will be able to give you sensible advice on a no win no fee basis about your accident, injuries and compensation claims.