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If you have been injured in a scaffolding accident that wasn't your fault, you might be entitled to make a compensation claim
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Common Causes of Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding is an essential feature of the construction industry, providing workers with a platform to work safely at height. However, scaffolding accidents continue to be a significant concern, with thousands of workers suffering injuries every year. These accidents can range from minor injuries to fatalities, and can have a devastating impact on workers and their families.

As a building owner, contractor, or anyone associated with scaffolding, it is crucial to prioritise health and safety and take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents. This includes ensuring that the scaffolding is installed and maintained correctly, providing workers with adequate training and appropriate protective equipment, and implementing proper safety procedures on site.

In the unfortunate event of being injured in a scaffolding accident, knowing how to protect yourself and your legal rights is essential. Getting medical attention, reporting the accident, gathering evidence, and seeking legal advice are vital steps to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

This guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the most common causes of scaffolding accidents and how to prevent them. We will also cover the steps you should take if you are involved in a scaffolding accident.

Improper Installation of Scaffolding

Improper installation of scaffolding is one of the leading causes of scaffold accidents. Shoddy installation may be due to a lack of training, experience or not following industry standards properly. These accidents can also be caused by negligent scaffolding companies taking shortcuts as a cost-cutting measure.

Scaffolding must be erected and installed by a qualified and experienced professional to ensure that the structure is stable and secure. Regulations and industry best practices should also be observed. Failure to do so can result in the structure collapsing or workers falling from height, leading to serious injuries or fatalities.

Missing Guardrails

Scaffolding constructed without proper guardrails is another common cause of accidents. The absence of guardrails can increase the risk of falls and lead to significant injuries. Toe-boards should also be installed to prevent tools and building materials like roof tiles from falling from the scaffolding.

Inspecting guardrails and toe-boards regularly is essential to ensure they remain secure and in good condition. Missing or improperly installed guardrails can result in legal liability for the employer or contractor if an employee or member of the public is injured.

Workers should refuse to work on scaffolding without proper guardrails and should report any safety concerns to their employer or site supervisor immediately.

Inadequate Training

Anybody working at height must be adequately trained in scaffolding safety, including the correct use of equipment, hazard identification, and emergency procedures. Without proper training, workers may not know how to identify potential hazards, how to use the equipment correctly, or how to respond in the event of an emergency.

If an employee suffers an injury while working on or around scaffolding due to a lack of training, the employer could be liable for a personal injury compensation claim. They also risk potential fines and prosecution from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Overloading of Scaffolding

Overloading is another issue that can result in scaffolding accidents. Workers may overload the scaffolding by placing too much equipment or materials on it. With too much weight, the scaffolding can collapse, putting the lives of workers and passersby in danger.

Employers must ensure their workers understand the maximum load capacity of the scaffolding and distribute the weight evenly to prevent collapse. Failure to do so can result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Falling objects

Falling objects from scaffolding poses a significant risk of injury to workers and bystanders alike. Poorly secured tools or materials and overloading of the scaffolding are common causes of such accidents.

Toe-boards should be installed, and workers should be adequately trained to minimise the risk of objects falling from scaffolding. It is also essential to be mindful of the scaffolding’s maximum load capacity and to take measures to avoid overloading it.

In relevant situations, employers can also provide additional fall protection measures, such as netting, to mitigate the risk of falling objects. Failing to take the necessary precautions to prevent falling objects from scaffolding can have severe consequences, including legal liability for the employer, and can result in life-changing injuries.

Inadequate Maintenance

Regular inspections and maintenance are essential to identify potential hazards before they become a problem. Any damaged or defective scaffolding parts, such as rails or scaffold boards, should be repaired or replaced immediately to ensure the scaffolding remains stable and secure. Failure to maintain the scaffolding in good condition can result in accidents caused by defects or deterioration.

Bad weather conditions

Working in bad weather conditions is another common cause of scaffolding accidents. Rain, wind, and snow can make scaffolding slippery and unstable, increasing the risk of workplace slip and trip accidents. It is essential to check the weather forecast regularly and take appropriate measures to ensure the scaffolding remains stable and secure. Workers should also wear appropriate clothing and footwear to prevent slips and falls.

If the weather conditions become too hazardous, work should be suspended until conditions improve. Failure to take adequate precautions in bad weather conditions can result in serious injuries, and employers can be held liable for any accidents resulting from inadequate safety measures.

Consequences for Negligent Companies

Many examples of scaffolding accidents have resulted in personal injury claims or fines for the company responsible. Some of the most notable examples include the following:

  • In 2018, a construction firm was fined £850,000 after a scaffolder fell from a height of 10 meters and suffered severe injuries. The scaffolding had been erected incorrectly, and no fall protection was in place.
  • A construction company was fined £100,000 in 2017 after a worker fell 9 meters and suffered multiple fractures. The scaffolding had been overloaded with equipment and materials, causing it to collapse.
  • A scaffolder suffered a fatal fall from a height of 6 meters in 2016 after the scaffolding he was working on collapsed. The scaffolding hadn’t been installed correctly, and there was no fall protection in place. The company responsible was fined £130,000.
  • In 2015, a worker suffered severe injuries after falling from a scaffold that had not been erected properly, causing it to be unstable. A fine of £200,000 was imposed on the company responsible.
  • A scaffolder sustained head injuries in 2014 after falling from a scaffold that had not been sufficiently secured. The company at fault for the accident was subsequently fined £60,000.

These examples highlight the importance of proper scaffolding safety procedures and the consequences that can arise from inadequate safety measures. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that workers are safe while working at height and can be held liable for any injuries sustained due to their failings.

If you have been injured in a scaffolding accident caused by somebody else’s negligence, you are a legal right to claim compensation for your injuries and related financial losses. Therefore, speaking to a solicitor as soon as possible after a work accident is vital to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

What should you do if you’re involved in a scaffolding accident?

If you have been involved in a scaffolding accident, there are several important steps that you should take to protect yourself and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

Report the Accident

You must report a scaffolding accident immediately to your employer or site supervisor. This will help ensure that the accident is properly documented and investigated to prevent further accidents. Failure to report the accident could jeopardise your ability to make a claim for injury compensation.

Seek Medical Attention

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after a scaffolding accident, even if you do not feel injured. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and receiving medical attention is crucial to ensure you are properly diagnosed and treated. Additionally, a medical report will provide valuable evidence for your claim.

Gather Evidence

Gathering evidence is crucial in proving liability in a scaffolding accident claim. Take photographs of the accident scene, the scaffolding, and any equipment or materials involved. Also, take notes of what happened, including the time, date, and location of the accident, and the names and contact information of any witnesses. You could also ask your employer for a copy of the accident log, which they are responsible for maintaining.

Keep Records

Keep records of any medical treatment, medication, and expenses related to your injuries. This will help you prove the extent of your injuries and the financial losses you have suffered due to the accident. This could include costs related to prescriptions, physiotherapy, transport or lost wages if you had to take some time off work.

Seek Legal Advice

It is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a scaffolding accident. A personal injury solicitor with experience in scaffolding accidents can help you understand your rights and the compensation you may be entitled to. If your employer was at fault for your accident, a solicitor will guide you through the claims process and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

Most solicitors, including those we work in partnership with, will offer a no win no fee service*. This enables you to make a claim without the stress of being faced with a large legal bill. There are no upfront costs to start your claim, and you only pay your solicitor a success fee if you win compensation. Otherwise, you won’t pay a penny.

As we’ve discussed above, scaffolding accidents can be prevented by taking the necessary precautions, including proper installation, adequate training, and regular maintenance. If your employer has failed to take these precautions and you have been injured as a result, you could be entitled to compensation.

To discuss your accident with a legal advisor and find out if you have a valid claim, call 0800 678 140 or start your claim using the contact form below.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.