Scaffolding is a crucial component of construction and maintenance work, allowing workers access to heights that would otherwise be perilous. However, it also poses significant risks. Scaffolding injuries are all too common in the construction industry, and understanding the causes and statistics can help improve safety measures.  


However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States and similar agencies worldwide establish regulations and standards to ensure worker safety on construction sites. Employers are required to follow these regulations, and failure to do so can result in legal penalties and liability in case of accidents.


According to OSHA, “An estimated 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds frequently. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year, at a saving for American employers of $90 million dollars in workdays not lost.”

7 Common Causes of Deaths and Injuries on Scaffolds

Here you will read the 7 most common causes of scaffolding injuries and accidents. Without further ado, read this comprehensive guide thoroughly to prevent scaffolding-related injuries and fatalities!

  • Fall from Heights

One of the most frequent and tragic causes of death and injury on scaffolds is falls from heights. Workers may lose their balance, slip, or trip while navigating scaffolding structures and it will leads to potentially fatal plunges to the ground or lower levels. These falls can result in severe scaffolding injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage. The consequences of such incidents are often devastating, affecting not only the victims but their families, coworkers, and employers as well.


To prevent falls from heights, it is essential to adhere to safety protocols. Installing guardrails and toe boards along scaffold edges, using personal fall protection equipment, and maintaining a clean and uncluttered workspace are crucial measures. Proper training is equally important to ensure that workers are aware of the risks and know how to navigate scaffolds safely.

  • Improper Installation and Maintenance

Scaffolding structures must be installed correctly and maintained regularly to remain safe for use. Improper installation or inadequate maintenance can result in catastrophic accidents. Scaffolds that are not securely fastened to the building, inadequately braced, or constructed with subpar materials are at high risk of collapsing or tipping over.


Maintenance issues, such as rust, corrosion, or structural weakening, can compromise the integrity of scaffolds over time. Workers and employers must be vigilant in inspecting scaffolding regularly and addressing any issues promptly. However, neglecting this maintenance can lead to accidents that may not only result in injuries but also put multiple lives at risk. 

  • Lack of Proper Training and Awareness

Most common factor of scaffolding injuries is human error. It often plays a significant role in scaffolding injuries and accidents. A lack of proper training and awareness among workers can lead to risky behaviors and disregard for safety procedures. Workers who are not adequately trained may not recognize potential hazards or understand how to navigate scaffolding safely. This can result in accidents like slipping, tripping, or making incorrect decisions when working on or around scaffolds.


Employers must invest in comprehensive training programs for their workers, focusing on scaffold safety and best practices. Regular refresher courses can reinforce the importance of safety and reduce the likelihood of accidents due to ignorance or carelessness.

  • Adverse Weather Conditions 

Another most common factor related to scaffolding accident injuries is weather conditions. However, climatic situations pose another substantial risk to scaffolds. Rain, snow, ice, strong winds, and extreme temperatures can all make working on scaffolding more dangerous. Slippery surfaces can cause workers to lose their footing, and high winds can destabilize scaffolding structures. Exposure to extreme temperatures can lead to discomfort and reduced concentration, increasing the risk of accidents.


To mitigate the impact of adverse weather conditions, it's essential to monitor weather forecasts and plan work accordingly. When weather conditions become too hazardous, work should be suspended until it is safe to resume. Workers should also be provided with appropriate clothing and equipment to protect them from the elements.

  • Falling Objects

Scaffolding accidents can also result from objects falling from the scaffold onto workers or bystanders below. Tools, materials, or debris may inadvertently drop from scaffolds, causing injuries or fatalities. These falling objects can lead to head trauma, lacerations, fractures, and other injuries.


To prevent falling objects, it is essential to establish safety measures, including the use of tool lanyards and securing materials properly. Workers should also be vigilant in keeping their work area clean and organized, ensuring that objects are not left near edges where they could fall. Furthermore, the installation of debris netting or protective barriers can provide an additional layer of safety.

  • Electrocution 

Scaffolds can pose an electrocution hazard when they come into contact with live electrical wires. This is particularly relevant in construction projects that involve electrical work or when scaffolds are used near power lines. Electrocution can result in severe injuries or fatalities.


To prevent electrocution on scaffolds, it is crucial to establish safe work distances from electrical sources. Workers should be trained to recognize potential electrical hazards and take appropriate precautions. Additionally, scaffolds should be made of non-conductive materials when working near electrical systems.

  • Inadequate Safety Inspection

Regular inspections of scaffolding structures are essential to identify and address potential safety issues. Inspections help ensure that scaffolds are properly erected, secure, and in good working condition. Failure to conduct adequate inspections or neglect of identified safety issues can lead to accidents and injuries.


Employers should establish a rigorous inspection schedule for scaffolding, both before initial use and at regular intervals during construction. Any identified safety concerns should be addressed promptly, and scaffolds should not be used until they are deemed safe.

To Wrap Up Things

The causes of death and injuries on scaffolds are one of the most significant concerns in the construction industry. It has been concluded that without proper and authentic safety training, you are not able to mitigate the hazards related to scaffolds. There are several factors that are responsible for severe scaffold injuries, such as falling from heights, overloading, electrocution, inadequate fall protection, adverse weather conditions, a lack of proper training, and more.


However, it is crucial for construction companies and workers to prioritize safety, enroll in OSHA safety training courses, adhere to safety protocols, and conduct regular inspections to prevent these tragic accidents from happening due to scaffolding.