Scaffolding is a transitory structure for supporting construction workforce and materials are then used for construction, repairing and maintaining buildings.
Unfortunately, scaffolding accidents are not a rare workplace accident, and they can injure construction workers, passers-by and site visitors. Construction site jobs come with their own set of hazards, especially where scaffolding is involved.
The materials used for making scaffolding along with exposure to elements necessitate appropriate and ongoing health and safety measures are implemented in the workplace.
If a person is injured in a scaffolding accident caused by negligence, the injured party can see a legal remedy.
Duties of Employers
The general employer duties as provided under Sections 8, 10, 17, and 18 of Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 include to:
- Ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees at work.
- Avert any improper workplace conduct or habits that are likely to endanger worker safety, health or welfare.
- Ensure the design, provision and upkeep of a safe workplace that is devoid of health risks.
- Ensure the design, planning and upkeep of safe workplace egress means.
- Ensure the design, arrangement and maintenance of safe equipment, plant and other articles.
- Ensure the safety and prevention of health risks relating to article use, noise exposure, vibrations, ionising agents and radiation.
- Offer planned, organised, tested, maintained and updated systems of work.
- Give access to and maintain facilities and arrangements at work for employee welfare.
- Provide instructions, training, and supervision required for ensuring employee safety, health, and welfare.
- Determine and uphold safety, health and welfare procedures when identifying hazardous conditions and performing a risk assessment.
- Have regard to the overall prevention principles in situations where it’s impossible to eliminate or sufficiently control risks.
- Prepare and revise enough arrangements and measures to be complied with and procedures to be enforced in emergency cases.
- Inform the relevant authority about workplace accidents and dangerous incidents.
- Obtain, where applicable, the services of a skilled person in order to ensure safety, health and welfare of all workers.
- Ensure instructions, training and supervision is delivered in an appropriate manner and language.
- Ensure employees get enough safety, health and welfare training.
- Ensure an employee’s capabilities are considered in relation to specific tasks.
Scaffolding Risk Assessment
Section 19 of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 provides the following hazard identification and risk assessment guidelines:
- Every employer should identify workplace hazards under his or her control, evaluate the risks they pose and have a written assessment of the risks.
- The employer should, putting into consideration the work being performed, view the duties charged by the relevant statutory arrangements
- The risk assessment should be reviewed by employers where there’s been substantial changes or another reason that makes it invalid.
- Employers should take steps to uphold any relevant improvement relating to employee safety, health and welfare in relation to the recent risk assessment.
Working at Height & Risk Avoidance
Sections 3, 4 and 6 Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Regulations 2006 define the following guidelines on work at height and risk avoidance:
- Employers should make sure that work at height is well-planned, supervised and performed in a safe a risk-free manner.
- In identifying procedures to comply with regulations, employers should consider the risk assessment.
- Employers should ensure work at height is conducted only when the weather doesn’t jeopardize employee safety and health.
- In choosing work equipment for working at height, the employers should provide collective protection measures. And, consider working conditions, distance and height for equipment access and egress, injury risks, duration and frequency of equipment use, and emergency evacuations.
- Employers should choose work at height equipment that suits the work being performed, and allows safe passage.
Scaffolding Safety Requirements
Under the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Regulations 2007 Sections 99,101, 102, and 107, employers should ensure that a workplace with work at height:
- Is stable and sufficiently strong and rigid for its intended purpose.
- Rests on an adequately stable and strong surface.
- Has sufficient dimensions to allow safe passage of workers and safe use of plant and materials.
- Is fitted with suitable and enough edge protection.
- Has a surface with no gaps through which workers could fall, materials or items could fall and harm employees, or give rise to other injury risks.
- Is constructed, utilized and maintained in a condition that prevents the risk of slips, trips, and employees getting caught in-between.
- Is prevented by relevant tools from moving inadvertently.
Frequently Asked Questions
Work accident Claim Form ?
This is termed Form A which is simply the application form to the Injuries Board can be made by completing and submitting Form A with the application fee €45 or €90 and a medical report.
An injured party must apply to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board by filling out an Injuries Board Assessment Form A.
If any costs have been incurred, remember to attach receipts for any financial losses related to the personal injury* with the application to the Injuries Board. Include a copy of correspondence from the person you deem responsible for the injury, and send the application fee. The Board will write back to acknowledge receiving your documents and to give you your application number.
How do accident claims work ?
An initial step for any injured party who wishes to initiate a personal injury claim* is to make an application to the Board. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is a statutory body that carries out its own private, independent assessment of a persons personal injury* claim. It will not assess claims regarding the provision of any medical or surgical procedure in relation to a person, or the provision of any medical advice or treatment to a person.
A purely paper-based system, it never carries out oral hearings but assesses claims with regard to medical evidence, such as the medical report furnished by the injured party to the Board.
If the person who caused the injury consents to the Injuries Board assessing the application, or if they fail to state in writing whether they consent to the assessment or not, the Injuries Board will proceed to carry out the assessment.
If the person who causes the accident states in writing that they do not consent to the Injuries Board making an assessment, the Injuries Board will issue whats termed an authorisation, which permits the applicant (injured party) to bring legal proceedings.
How do I claim for an accident at work ?
This is answered in the paragraphs above.
What should I do after an accident at work ?
After you attend to the medical care, report the accident to the employer.
While you are considering your options, it is very helpful if you write out the details of the facts to keep in case you are thinking of taking a case.
Facts and evidence get lost and it is to the detriment of many people who subsequently decide to take cases when it doesn’t need to be an issue.
Case Assessment Advice
If you are suffering from a scaffolding accident at work, you can contact us by telephone or email and we will have an initial meeting with you to explore the facts and furnish a case opinion to you.
Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.
In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.