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Dangers associated with suspension scaffolding

The National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health states that falls are a leading cause of work-related deaths. They specifically caution employers against the unsafe operation of suspension scaffold equipment.

Suspension scaffold refers to one or more platforms suspended by ropes or other means from an overhead structure. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require employers to maintain scaffold equipment properly, to be well versed in its proper installation and operation, and to train employees in its operation and provide them with the appropriate safety equipment.

NIOSH has investigated several fatal falls from suspension scaffold equipment. In many cases, employers were in violation of OSHA regulations for suspension scaffold safety, and the deaths would not have occurred if employers had been in compliance with OSHA codes for safe use of scaffolds.

People who suffer injuries at work must decide whether to file a workers' compensation claim or to retain a personal injury attorney to pursue a civil suit. If a workers' compensation claim is filed, then the victim waives all rights to later file a civil personal injury claim. If there is any suspicion that negligence on the part of the employer may have contributed to the accident, then attorneys representing the victims may advise against filing a workers' compensation claim.

In cases where a worker has died because of a fall from a suspension platform, attorneys representing the families may consider evidence from many outside sources to build a civil wrongful death case. For example, important information comes from police reports, eyewitness statements and medical records. In addition, OSHA investigations may be reviewed in order to determine if there was gross negligence on the part of the employer that contributed to the victim's death.

Source: CDC, "Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths Caused by Falls From Suspension Scaffolds", October 23, 2014

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