How common are scaffolding injuries?
Working on scaffolding is inherently dangerous. Employees are expected to work full days, on temporary structures, at height. Most employers observe all safety regulations and recommendations.
The erection and operation of scaffolding on commercial sites is covered by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. Accidents on construction sites are still common in the UK, with around 4,000 people being injured on scaffolding annually.
Slips, trips and falls are the most common form of injury. Being hit by a falling object while you are working near scaffolding is also a serious risk.
Every year injuries to scaffolders, experienced builders, other trades, trainees, labourers supervisors are reported to the HSE. Of these, many injured workers are self-employed or casual labour. Seeking compensation for an injury as a self-employed worker can be more challenging, but certainly not impossible. If the site operator or erection company has been negligent, a claim should still be possible.
Scaffolding accidents can occur when:
- the erection company makes an error in the design of the scaffold
- poor-quality or poorly-maintained scaffolding parts are used
- the condition scaffolding is not regularly checked
- the scaffolding is used in adverse weather conditions such as high winds, heavy rain or snow and ice
- the scaffolding is used by employees or contractors that have not received the correct training
- individuals have not received suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats and steel-capped boots
- equipment, tools and building materials are carried up ladders rather than using a hoist
- when scaffolding over public walkways are not made safe and objects are dropped from a height
Accidents caused by employers' negligence
You can usually make a scaffolding accident injury claim if your accident happened for reasons like:
- You were told to do something that you have not been trained for
- Another worker, contractor or site visitor did something dangerous
- You were not given suitable PPE
- You were injured by poor-quality or broken equipment
What to do if you are injured working with scaffolding
Visit your GP or A&E
You should arrange to see your GP as soon as you can after the accident.
Head injuries are a common outcome of scaffolding accidents. It is very important that you see a doctor after any blow to the head, even if you feel okay afterwards. Delayed concussion can have serious side-effects, and can lead to blackouts, memory loss and further accidents.
Keep a record of your medical appointment, which will be useful supporting evidence should you decide to make a claim.
Find out more: Key things you need to do when getting medical help for a work injury
Keep a record of your accident and injuries
A record of your accident will help you to:
- Claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and benefits
- Make an injury compensation claim
Even if you don’t plan to claim anything right now, it is a very good idea to make a record while you still clearly remember what happened.
Find out more: Gathering evidence after a work injury - checklist
Reporting scaffolding accident
Any accident on or near scaffolding should be reported. If you decide to claim compensation, reporting your accident can make the claims process easier and faster. Ask your employer or site operator to give you a copy of the accident book record.
Can I claim injury compensation for a scaffolding accident?
If you were injured in a scaffolding accident at work, within the last three years, you could be eligible to claim injury compensation.
You can also usually claim for a work accident - even if the accident was your fault or the fault of a contractor or other third party.
What financial support is available after a scaffolding accident?
After a scaffolding accident, you may be able to claim for SSP and other benefits if your injuries mean you are not able to work.
You might not be able to claim certain benefits if you are already receiving Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit payments.
You may also be able to make a work accident compensation claim. If you are unable to cover the living costs of you and your dependents after the accident, you may be able to get an interim payment ahead of your compensation award.
Will my employment status affect my right to claim?
More so than other accidents, accidents involving scaffolding often involve contractors, casual labourers and third-parties like the company responsible for putting up the scaffolding. Whether you are employed, self-employed, on a zero-hours contract or employed through an agency, a claim should still be possible. There are however a number of things you need to be aware of.
Read more about claiming if you are:
How much compensation will I get?
Scaffolding accident compensation awards are calculated based on two factors:
- The injuries or illness you have suffered (called general damages)
- The financial costs you have incurred (called special damages)
Injury compensation is worked out with reference to an official table of guideline amounts published by the Judicial College. During the claims process, your solicitor will arrange for an assessment of your injuries to determine which table values are applicable.
Our calculator uses the official guidelines to give you an idea of the compensation you could receive.
Making a No Win, No Fee scaffolding claim
A No Win, No Fee claim is made with the help of a solicitor.
When you start a No Win, No Fee claim, your solicitor will explain how the claims process works, and what they will be paid if they win your claim. Under a No Win, No Fee agreement, a solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of a claimant's compensation.
If your No Win, No Fee claim is not successful, you will have no legal fees to pay.
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice
- Explain how No Win, No Fee works
- Recommend the right solicitor