Scaffolding Accident FAQs
The Law Of… Scaffolding Safely
There are 2.9 million people currently employed in the construction industry in the UK. Scaffolding is a prominent tool within the construction sector and anyone working with scaffolding structures are at risk of a scaffolding accident.
According to the Health and Safety Executive report into fatal injuries at work, a fall from height is the number one cause of a fatal injury.
Personal Injury and Work Accident specialist, Ruth Magee, looks into why scaffolding has a lot to answer for the number of fatalities in the construction industry and discusses what can be done to protect workers.
How Common Is A Scaffold Accident?
The Health and Safety Executive produce a report on injuries at work within the construction sector. In their most recent report, they predict that around 65,000 injuries within the construction sector occur every year. Around a quarter of these reports of injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls.
The same report looks into fatal injuries within construction. In the last 5 years, 97 people have died because of a fall from height.
What Are The Risks That Could Cause A Scaffolding Accident?
The most obvious risk posed by scaffolding is the issue of working at height. If scaffolding is erected correctly, the risk of a scaffold accident is reduced.
Causes of a scaffold accident include:
- Inadequate safety procedures in place
- Weak planking
- Insecure bracing
- Insufficient training for construction workers
- Lack of protective equipment provided
- Loads falling from scaffolding
In October 2017, a Swindon scaffolder won compensation from the company he worked for after a catastrophic injury. They were fined £80,000 and the director of the company was given a suspended prison sentence. The scaffolding erected was built too close to a power line and the scaffolder suffered an electric shock that led to the amputation of his left arm above the elbow, his right arm below the elbow and both of his feet. Boundary Scaffolding pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations by not ensuring a safe system of work was in place.
In September 2017, two scaffold inspectors were prosecuted for signing off on scaffolding that they hadn't actually checked. They were found out after a worker was injured in a fall through a gap in the scaffolding he had been working on. He suffered fracture injuries to his spine.
Whilst a fall from height is far from an everyday occurrence, a scaffold accident can cause serious injury. Additionally, following strict health and safety regulations can protect workers.
How Can Workers Be Protected From A Scaffold Accident?
When it comes to using scaffolding for any job, it is incredibly important initially assess the needs and health and safety of the project it will be used for. After an initial assessment, it should be possible then to decide on the most appropriate design of scaffolding.
The Health and Safety Executive provide detailed advice on the Work at Height Regulations (2005) and on the recognised standard configuration of different types of scaffolding.
They also stipulate that competence is needed throughout:
Through training and tight health and safety controls, scaffolding accidents can be reduced if not eradicated.
How Can I Claim For A Scaffolding Accident?
If you have been in a scaffolding accident, whether you have been a worker using the scaffolding to do your job, or a member of the public walking by, you could be entitled to compensation. If the accident was down to the carelessness of another, they are liable to pay compensation for the injury and losses you have sustained as a result of the accident.
If your scaffolding accident was whilst you were at work, if possible, it is helpful to:
- Fill in an accident report
- Take photographs
- Get the names of any witnesses
- Notify your union of the incident
What Can Simpson Millar Do To Help Your Scaffolding Accident Compensation Claim?
We have an experienced Personal Injury team who will take the time to guide you through your claim with an empathetic and sensitive approach. Legal advice from a law firm like Simpson Millar can provide information on grounds for a claim and our level of expertise can ensure that you receive the extent of compensation due to you.
"The problem with a scaffolding accident is that it can cause life-changing damage to anyone involved. A fall from height is extremely dangerous."
"Health and safety regulations are there for a reason and it is sad to think that many injuries, including those that are fatal, could have been avoided with more due care and attention."
"If there are witnesses to your injury, this can be very helpful in making sure you get the deserved amount of compensation. If you can't get witnesses names, make sure someone does."
If you have been involved in a scaffold accident or another accident involving a fall from height, contact our personal injury team as soon as possible to find out if you can claim compensation.