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    Archive for September, 2021

    How Can I Help Prevent Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents at Work?

    Scaffolding, also known as staging, is a temporary metal structure used to provide a platform for a work crew to perform its work at heights that are too high to work on from the floor. It can be a supporting structure made of poles, frames, or platforms that are suspended from above. Because scaffolds are high up by their very nature, they are also inherently dangerous.

    According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 2.3 million construction workers, or 65% of the U.S. construction workforce, work on scaffolds. With numbers this high, scaffold and ladder-related accidents are, for the most part, inevitable. 

    In Pennsylvania, OSHA safety regulations regarding scaffolding apply to those who work in the construction industry, but there are also additional legal options for such workers. For example, construction workers may also be protected by Pennsylvania’s product liability laws. A defective product can cause serious injury, and unfortunately, if scaffolding is defective, the end results can be deadly.

    If you have suffered from an injury at work In Pennsylvania, a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at our law firm can help. Whether it is a workers’ comp claim or a legal claim, we understand the Pennsylvania workers’ comp laws and strategy behind the burden of proof and will use these standards to help you establish your claim.

    How Can We Avoid Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents?

    Scaffold and ladder workers can maximize their safety with a few simple steps, including:

    • Always use a spotter for balancing heaving loading
    • Always use protective gear, including life jackets, and check your ladders and scaffolds
    • Organize power tools, toolboxes, and various types of clutter to keep a clean, safe workspace 
    • Clean up spills immediately to avoid slip-and-fall accidents
    • Use designated access areas to climb scaffolding and ladders, and never stand on storage trunks, old ladders, or boxes
    • Know the load capacities of the ladders and scaffolding and do not exceed them
    • Report safety violations or concerns to a supervisor
    • Use single-rail ladders
    • So not exceed the maximum intended load beyond any manufacturer’s rated capacity,
    • Secure ladder feet are on slippery surfaces
    • Use ladders with worn steps
    • Use ladders without nonconductive side rails, which increase the chances of exposure to electrical equipment

    Learn More About Workers’ Comp Claims From a Lancaster Workplace Accident Attorney

    Scaffolding and ladders have been extremely dangerous in the workplace for far too long and can be even more dangerous when they’re used together in unsafe conditions. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure you know how to use all equipment properly and in a safe manner. However, it is always best to lookout for our own protection and safety needs. That said, you are encouraged to use your own common sense based on the specific situation at your workplace and always follow any instructions or guidance provided to the letter. It’s a good idea for you to practice a bit with an experienced scaffold or ladder worker before you go up on your own.

    If you have been injured at work because of a scaffolding or ladder accident, let a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at Vanasse Law LLC help you with your claim. You can contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    Trench Collapses, Excavation Accidents and How to Prevent Them

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHAs) regulations regarding trenching and excavations have made getting rid of potential and actual trench and excavation hazards on construction sites a top priority. Trench collapses and subsequent cave-ins pose a great risk to trench workers’ lives. That said, it is important for workers to know and understand their rights under the law.

    Some typical ways to prevent cave-ins include:

    • Sloping or benching trench walls
    • Shoring trench walls with supports
    • Shielding trench walls with trench boxes

    Employers should also provide safe ways to enter and exit. Additionally, all workers should be on constant lookout for hazardous materials or leaks. And if there’s ever any question or concern, NEVER enter a trench unless and until it has been properly inspected.

    There are other hazards related to trenching and excavations that workers need to know about before beginning any construction project. For instance, the atmosphere itself may be a health hazard for workers. OSHA requires testing for all excavations that are more than four feet deep, as well as in situations where oxygen levels may be low or other hazardous atmospheric conditions may exist. If this safety step is skipped, workers could be exposed to toxic chemicals or even worse — they could suffocate.

    Further, heavy machines, trucks, backhoes, etc. are typically used on excavation and trenching sites. Employers have an obligation to ensure all workers on the project know how to properly use such equipment, as improper use could result in serious and severe injuries.

    If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, a Lancaster workplace accident attorney can help you with your workers’ comp claims and review the circumstances surrounding the trench collapse and/or excavation accident. as well as advise on other potential legal claims you may have. We understand the laws and strategies needed for such cases and will use that to help you establish your claim.

    Is There a Way to Prevent Trench and Excavation Accidents?

    Construction site managers and workers can maximize their safety by ensuring the following has occurred:

    • Ensure proper protection is in place. To prevent workers from being injured in trenching and excavation incidents, it is imperative to have appropriate protective systems in place. As noted above, when such systems do not exist, workers are at a greater risk for injuries such as being crushed, toxic exposure and suffocation.
    • Make sure the site is prepared appropriately. Excavations areas should be inspected prior to any work being done, as well as ongoing during the project. Someone with adequate competence and training in soil analysis should be used when preparing the worksite.
    • Put equipment and work materials in their proper place. Excavation materials and work-related equipment can cause severe injuries to workers if they are put too close to the trench. That said, employers should be sure that all work materials and equipment are placed at least two feet away.
    • All access and exit areas should be made as safe as possible. Site workers typically use ramps and other equipment to access and exit trenches. When such equipment is not placed in an appropriate area or is left unmaintained, workers may fall and be subjected to all types of serious injuries.

    Learn More About Workers’ Comp Claims From a Lancaster Workplace Accident Attorney

    If you have been injured at work because of a trench or excavation accident, let a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at Vanasse Law LLC help you with your claim. You can contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.