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Collapsed scaffolding claims lives of 3, severely injures another

Colorado construction workers face a multitude of safety hazards posed by their various activities. Collapsed scaffolding has been identified as one of the hazards that causes high numbers of catastrophic injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. A tragic workplace accident in another state recently claimed the lives of three workers and severely injured another when the scaffold on which they were working collapsed.

Many construction companies have moved away from the traditionally constructed scaffolds to mast-climbing work platforms that consist of motorized platforms that are secured to the walls of buildings in the form of vertical towers. The motorized platforms are then elevated to the levels where the work takes place. The Center for Construction Research and Training found that these mast climbers are more cost effective to erect and dismantle and can carry heavier loads.

Unfortunately, the advantage of the climbers being able to be elevated to greater heights also poses its biggest danger. If these structures collapse, the result is typically devastating, and commonly involves catastrophic injuries and multiple deaths. However, it was noted that the correct installation and proper use could avoid such disasters.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the circumstances of the collapsed scaffolding that caused the tragic loss of lives and severe injuries in the recent construction accident. This will determine whether the construction company violated any safety regulations related to the construction of the mast-climbing work platform and the protection of the workers. Colorado construction workers and families who have lost loved ones in workplace accidents are entitled to pursue workers' compensation benefits with regard to an injury suffered on the job.

Source: newsobserver.com, "Scaffolding collapse points up risks, lack of OSHA rules", Martha Quillon, March 28, 2015

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