Scaffolding collapse accidents are a significant concern on construction sites throughout California. Not only can they cause workers to fall from heights, but they can also cause the scaffolding to crash down on unsuspecting workers and pedestrians below. Let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of scaffolding collapses and what site operators can do to prevent them.

Common Scaffolding Collapse Causes

There are four primary causes of scaffolding collapses, three of which come down to human error. It’s important to be aware of these causes and how you can avoid them:

  1. Improper Assembly – Are all the scaffolding joints connected and locked into place? Is the scaffolding built on a stable surface? If the scaffolding assembly doesn’t adhere to OSHA standards, it may not be sturdy or able to hold the weight it needs to.
  2. Inadequate Training – Workers who assemble scaffolding should be trained beforehand to mitigate errors that could lead to collapse. Without proper training and supervision, workers might make errors that endanger everyone on the worksite.
  3. Overloading – Every piece of equipment and machinery on a construction site has a weight limit. Scaffolding is no exception. A partial or complete collapse may occur if the scaffolding cannot handle the weight being put onto it.
  4. Environmental Factors – Heavy rain, high winds, and even snow can cause a scaffolding collapse. Water flow from heavy rain can compromise the surface on which the scaffolding sits. High winds can topple unsecured scaffolding. Snow can pile up, exceeding the scaffolding’s weight limit.

Preventing Scaffolding Collapses

Implementing some simple prevention measures can mitigate the risk of a scaffolding collapse. In particular, all construction companies should do the following:

  1. Adhere to Safety Standards – As with everything on a construction site, there are safety standards that dictate how scaffolding should be built, used, and maintained. By following the scaffolding manufacturer’s and OSHA’s guidelines, you can reduce the risk of collapse.
  2. Implement Training Programs – A supervisor should adequately train all workers involved in the assembly and use of scaffolding. This training should include where and how to assemble scaffolding, the weight limits, and how to report a suspected issue.
  3. Check the Foundation – The foundation upon which you erect scaffolding impacts its stability. Always build scaffolding on an even, solid surface to prevent the scaffolding from shifting over time.
  4. Prepare for the Weather – Ensure that scaffolding is secure before a storm. This preparation could involve adding extra weight to the base of supports or tying it down.

Who’s Responsible for a Scaffolding Collapse?

In many cases, the construction company operating the scaffolding will be liable for injuries caused by a collapse. They must ensure the scaffolding’s correct assembly, use, and maintenance.

However, the scaffolding manufacturer could also be at fault. In some cases, collapses result from product defects. For example, the scaffolding’s design may have been faulty from the start. Something may have gone wrong during the manufacturing process, causing the scaffolding to be unable to support enough weight. Or, the instructions for assembling the scaffolding may have been unclear.

An experienced construction accident lawyer can help determine the cause of the collapse, who might be at fault, and what options for pursuing compensation are available to you, which may include money for your:

  • Medical treatment, including hospitalization, surgeries, pain management, and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages, including salary, commission, tips, bonuses, and benefits you were unable to earn while injured
  • Property damage, if relevant
  • Pain and suffering, covering both the physical and emotional discomfort caused by your injuries

Contact Our Scaffolding Collapse Accident Lawyers

Were you injured in a scaffolding collapse? Casper, Meadows, Schwartz, & Cook’s scaffolding collapse attorneys in Walnut Creek can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Our team can secure witness testimony, gather additional evidence, and negotiate with other parties on your behalf. Contact us today to get started on your case right away with a free consultation.