Scaffolding requirements and hazards
Published: July 27, 2011
In 20010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 OSHA issued more violations for scaffolding than any other regulation.
These fines cost U.S. employers billions of dollars.
However, they are not the only cost associated with scaffolding. Each year, there are more than 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths stemming from scaffold-related incidents.
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An annual study conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in 2010, revealed workplace injuries cost employers more than $200 billion annually in total cost. The average injury cost more than $45,000.
In order to reduce the potential for scaffolding related accident OSHA requires all employers to certify their employees on the proper operation, maintenance, hazard training and more.
These training policies are proven to reduce the likelihood of injury and save employers billions.
Read on for the full report on Scaffolding.
Defining Key Elements of Scaffolding
Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support people and material in the construction or repair of buildings and other large structures. It is typically a modular system of metal pipes or tubes, although it can be made out of other materials.
Bamboo is frequently used in some Asian countries, like the People's Republic of China.
The key elements of scaffolding are standards, ledgers, baseplates, toe boards, guard rails, planks and transoms.
The standards, also called uprights, are the vertical bars inserted into the base plate.
Ledgers are horizontal tubes which connect between the standards.
Transoms rest upon the ledgers at right angles. Main transoms are placed next to the standards, they hold the standards in place and provide support for planks;
Toe boards are the wood planks used on the front edges of scaffolding to prevent materials from falling.
Guard rails are the horizontal bars that are used to prevent employees from falling from the scaffolding.
Planks are the wooden boards that are used to form the working bases on scaffolding.
The financial cost of injuries can hinder success
While the sheer number of those injuries is staggering, the financial impact they place on employers is overwhelming.
An annual study conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in 2010, revealed that the direct cost to employers from injuries in 2008 was $53.42 billion. 
Furthermore the study concluded that accidents at the workplace were estimated to cost employers an additional $80 to $200 billion annually.
A second report by the U.S. Department of Labor cemented the finding of the insurance groups report. This report stated the average workplace injury cost an employer $43,000. The same study estimated the cost from wage replacement due to injury to be roughly $50 billion a year.
"An accident at the workplace can often be the difference between operating in the black and falling into the red," said Safety Services CEO Devon Dickenson.
The Injuries and Hazards of Scaffolding
April 22, 2004-A worker who fell 34-feet from scaffolding inside the Princess Royale Hotel in Ocean City, Md., died. Ocean City police said Michael Koch, 46, of Georgetown, was hanging Christmas decorations inside the hotel's atrium with Ivan Morales, 34, of Ocean City, when the scaffold the men were standing on collapsed.
The men were four stories above a concrete deck. Koch died after being transported to Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md.
Nov 14, 2003- A construction worker was injured after falling 50 feet down a shaft, police said. The worker, identified as Yugo Beja, 23, of Elizabeth, was standing on a scaffolding when a thick hose filled with water struck the scaffolding and knocked Beja off of it and down the shaft, police said.
These two incidents are just a drop in the bucket of scaffolding related injuries each year.
Each year, there are more than 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths stemming from scaffold-related incidents.
In a Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) study, 72% of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. 
Here are some other common causes of scaffolding injuries:
• Improper use of scaffold - using scaffold for other unrelated tasks
• Improper installation - if a scaffold is improperly installed, the scaffold may collapse
• Jumping on scaffold - jumping or hopping on a scaffold may cause the scaffold to give and collapse
• Defective components used to erect scaffold - if built with faulty or defective materials, a scaffold may collapse
• Unskilled construction of scaffold - when someone that is untrained to erect scaffolds
• No supervision
• Wrong Components/Mixing Parts: If built with materials not specifically designed by manufacturer for scaffolding device may fail
• Excess Weight: When weight limits are not followed employees puts themselves at risk.
• Slippery Surfaces/Bad Weather: High wind, rain and slippery surfaces can lead to falls from scaffolding.
Hazards related to scaffold work include:
• Scaffold Collapse
• Falling off scaffold
• Tools falling off scaffold
• Electric Shock (if working with electricity)