Before you began working at a construction site, your new supervisor should have provided you with training regarding the types of hazards you would face and how to minimize them. If you are working on scaffolds, your boss has some extra responsibilities to keep you safe.
According to ConstructionConnect.com, it is not enough for the foreman to send you out on your first day with a co-worker who has been on the job for a while. Only a qualified person can provide your education on scaffold safety. OSHA defines this person as someone who has a relevant degree or certification, or who has a track record of demonstrating the knowledge and experience of a professional in the field. This expert will be able to train you in all the hazards you may face when on or near scaffolds, including:
- Proper use of the scaffold
- Electrocution risks
- Fall prevention
- How to handle materials and equipment on the scaffold
- Scaffold load capacity
As a new member of the crew, it is not your job to put up or take down the scaffold, alter it or move it from one place to another. Only a person who has undergone training can take care of these duties, and only under the supervision of a competent person. OSHA considers a person competent if he or she has the knowledge, skill and authority to identify, correct and eliminate hazards.
While you may follow your training rigorously, others around you may not be so conscientious. Even though you are wearing a hard hat for safety, if the person above you drops a heavy tool, you could still sustain a serious injury. If you notice that one of your co-workers is not following protocol, you should report this to your supervisor.
Your supervisor should never instruct you to climb a scaffold that does not have proper access, such as a built-in or fixed ladder or an internal access stairway. He or she should also never expect you to work on a scaffold during inclement weather, as wet or muddy planks can be deadly.
If you sustain an injury because of conditions that your supervisor or another co-worker should have prevented, you may want to speak to an attorney about whether you are eligible for compensation for the damages you suffer.