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Prevalence of workplace accidents involving scaffolds concerning

The high number of scaffolding accidents in the construction industry nationwide, including in California, continues to cause alarm. Typical workplace accidents involving scaffolds include slip-and-fall incidents off slippery or incorrectly inclined platforms or the lack of fall protection or safe anchor points for tethering lanyards. Other hazards include dropped tools or other objects that are not secured on scaffolds or electrocution because scaffolding structures are too close to overhead cables.

Injuries in scaffolding accidents can range from minor to catastrophic, and immediate medical attention is vital. Even if injuries are not severe, medical records will be required when a workers' compensation benefits claim is filed. Employers and supervisors are responsible for the health and safety of workers. It is also their responsibility to ensure scaffolds are safe, and they should ensure that employees are equipped with fall protection and know how to use their safety gear.

In the event of a scaffold accident, employers must be notified immediately to allow them to file claims with the insurance providers. However, in many cases, the injured workers might have grounds for third-party liability claims. If, for example, the scaffold belongs to a different company that provides and erects such structures as independent contractors, injured workers may have viable claims against that business owner.

For this reason, victims of workplace accidents in California would be wise to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney before filing a benefits claim. A lawyer can assess the circumstances, and if there are grounds for a civil lawsuit, he or she can help a client navigate both procedures. While workers' compensation benefits typically cover only medical expenses and lost income -- along with additional awards in cases if debilitating injuries -- a successful third-party civil claim may lead to further monetary awards for pain and suffering and other damages

Source: consumersafety.org, "Scaffolding Accidents", Lindsey Pasieka, Oct. 20, 2017

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