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The Role of Safety Regulations in Preventing Scaffolding Accidents

The Role of Safety Regulations in Preventing Scaffolding Accidents

When used properly, scaffolding is a tool that makes construction projects easier, faster, and safer. Unfortunately, it is far too easy for site supervisors and construction workers to take shortcuts that make scaffolding one of the most dangerous parts of this industry. In fact, scaffolding safety is the fifth most commonly cited standard when OSHA visits worksites. At Pisegna & Zimmerman, we’ve helped injured workers throughout Southern California get the compensation they deserve after a workplace injury. We’ve seen firsthand how important reasonable and enforceable safety standards are in preventing injuries.

Scaffolding is a significant source of injury in the construction industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 35% of workplace deaths in the construction industry are the result of falls. This news comes at a time when fatalities among construction laborers are at a five-year high, indicating a serious need for introspection and changes within the industry.

When you look at reviews for Pisegna & Zimmerman, you’ll see many clients who are happy with our service. When you’re injured at work, you’re in a vulnerable position—and we’re here to offer protection as you seek workers’ compensation. As you explore the importance of safety regulations, call us at 818-888-8888 to set up a consultation now.

Overview of Safety Regulations

There are two main agencies that set the safety regulations for scaffolding. OSHA, known across the country for its workplace safety standards and enforcement maintains in-depth regulations for scaffolding. The other agency, Cal/OSHA, serves the state of California.

There’s significant overlap in the regulations across these two agencies. Regulations cover these and other topics:

  • Proper ladder access to scaffolding

  • How to climb the scaffolding ladder

  • Scaffold capacity

  • Guardrail usage

  • Toe boards

  • Protective nets

  • Use of aerial lifts

  • Training requirements

Key Safety Requirements for Scaffolding

It’s important to note that while we discuss some standards as key to this industry, the fact is that all safety regulations should be equally followed and upheld by employers. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case—which is why construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in.

Having said that, some important safety standards focus on training. As anyone who works in construction knows, an untrained construction worker is a massive danger to everyone they work with. Per OSHA, scaffolding training must cover electrical hazards, fall hazards, falling object hazards, how to deal with hazards, proper material handling, and the maximum intended load of the 


Many general regulations were put in place with safety in mind. OSHA’s general regulations for scaffolding note that scaffold platforms and walkways must be at least 18 inches wide. Ladder jack, top plate bracket, roof bracket, and pump jack scaffolds must be at least 12 inches wide.

Distance regulations ensure that workers aren’t putting themselves at unnecessary risk while working on scaffolding. The maximum distance from the face for outrigger scaffolds is just three inches, while the maximum distance for plastering and lathering is 18 inches.

Cal/OSHA regulations go into extensive detail regarding safe work conditions. Sloped platforms can  not slope more than two feet vertically for every 10 horizontal feet. When conditions are slippery, workers cannot be permitted to continue operations—unless the slippery conditions are a necessary part of the work. Other regulations focus on overhead hazard protection and the hoisting of materials.

How Safety Regulations Affect This Industry

As you’ll notice, these regulations vary quite a bit in specificity. While some are general, such as the ones related to training, others are more specific. For example, slope requirements and distance requirements follow strict limitations. These standards are intended to allow work within the construction industry to run smoothly, but not in a way that puts workers in unnecessary danger.

When these regulations are implemented and enforced across the board, they generally result in significantly lower injury and fatality rates. However, the fact is that full enforcement of safety standards takes time. Foremen and site supervisors that put efficiency and due dates ahead of worker safety may ignore these regulations in order to finish projects more quickly, knowing that the overall risk of injury is still relatively low.

Even when companies do not enforce these regulations, the regulations may still have a way of encouraging safe behavior. Cal/OSHA and OSHA impose heavy fines on employers that ignore safety regulations. This action both punishes the company and discourages others from taking similar risks.

Injured at Work? Call Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pisegna & Zimmerman

If you’ve suffered a construction injury at work, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. If your company is pushing back and trying to deny you benefits, let our workers’ compensation attorney’s advocate for you. Set up your consultation right now by calling us at 818-888-8888 or contacting us online.

About the Author:

Pisegna & Zimmerman, LLC

The experienced Los Angeles workers' compensation attorneys at Pisegna & Zimmerman, LLC offer invaluable advice and experience and assistance when dealing with the often complicated and nightmarishly bureaucratic workers’ compensation system. While this might be your first or only interaction with the workers’ comp system, the work injury lawyers at Pisegna & Zimmerman represent clients’ interests every day at hearings, trials, depositions, oral arguments, mediations, arbitrations, and other workers’ compensation proceedings. Although we represent clients throughout Los Angeles County, we are located in Canoga Park and often work with clients in the neighboring... View full business profile here: Pisegna & Zimmerman, LLC

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