Construction sites are extremely dangerous. While most construction companies take caution to keep their workers safe, the nature of assembling a building itself leads to increased likelihood of injury. From tools to large vehicles and major heights, there are several contributing factors to the high risk of injury. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 775 deaths occurred on construction sites – which represented 19.6 percent of all workplace deaths for the year. Falls are one of the most common causes of injury and death for construction workers, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Unfortunately, most of these falls can be prevented. Sometimes, they are caused by employer negligence, equipment malfunctions, or even employee recklessness. Regardless, these common causes should be highlighted, and workers, as well as their employers, should do what they can to avoid such risks on the job.
What Leads to Falls on Construction Sites?
Construction sites often require workers to climb to great heights. Construction safety plans should contain provisions that protect workers from falls, but in order to create a plan, site managers must know the common causes for falls in the first place. These common causes include:
- Unprotected sides. There are instances where workers will have to stand several feet above the ground, but without any railing or side protection. This is because the building’s walls and framework have not been fully completed. Those working on those incomplete floors are at risk for falling out or off of the side of the building.
- Poor scaffolding creation. Scaffolding is used for numerous purposes in construction – from painting to drywall and more. When scaffolds are not properly constructed, they become a work hazard. OSHA has strict guidelines for how scaffolds should be constructed and inspected to prevent such injuries.
- Portable ladders being used improperly or malfunctioning. Portable ladders are very dangerous, and especially when used at great heights. When the locking mechanism is used improperly or malfunctions, the ladder can slide down. Also, if the ladder is not properly anchored against the ground and wall surface, it can tip over.
- Improper safety harness use. Sometimes, employers take the steps to protect their workers by offering them safety harnesses while they work on top of buildings. But, when those harnesses malfunction or are not used properly, a worker can still suffer a devastating fall.
Who is Liable?
In construction accidents and falls, it is not always clear who is at-fault. While most falls on the construction site will fall under workers’ compensation laws, there are instances when a third party may be sued. Consider the following example: A safety harness malfunctioned due to a defective design. In this instance, it would be the manufacturer or retailer that offered the safety harness that is at-fault for the employee’s fall – not workers’ compensation.
Did You Suffer from a Construction Job Injury?
If you work in construction, you know the risks of your job. But, if you were injured in a fall or other type of accident on the construction job site, you could be entitled to compensation for your injury. Contact the attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. today to review your case for free. Schedule a consultation now at 1-888-575-6410, or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.