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Many construction workers in New Jersey routinely work on scaffolds. The safe use of these platforms depend on well-maintained equipment, competent people installing equipment and fall prevention practices. Many worksites, however, fail to observe best practices, and collapses and falls injure and kill many workers. In 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 3,900 citations for improper scaffolding practices, making them the third most common category of safety violation.

Every year, scaffold accidents cost employers roughly $90 million because of lost productivity. About 4,500 construction workers experience scaffold accidents each year, and several dozen die. The Bureau of Labor Statistics attributes the bulk of these incidents to falls and substandard platforms.

The observance of safety guidelines could prevent many of these accidents. Regulations require that a person trained to build scaffolds manages the erection, adjustment and dismantling of every platform. Scaffold materials must be rigid and rated to carry the weight that will be placed on them. All scaffolds must have guardrails, midrails and toeboards. Furthermore, all workers using the scaffolds need training that informs of the hazards and teaches them how to work safely. They should also have fall protection gear whenever necessary.

An employee who suffers an accident on the job has a right to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Although this insurance policy is meant to help injured workers, the employer and insurer often have an interest in limiting payouts as much as possible. When an injured employee has trouble accessing information about the insurance coverage or receives a denial after filing a claim, an attorney could provide valuable guidance. Negotiations with the insurer or litigation managed by the attorney might result in an adequate financial settlement.