Falls a Leading Cause of Death in Construction Accidents
Written by Greg on May 24, 2018
Construction work is some of the most lucrative in the United States when the economy is in good shape. Needless to say, these past few years have been a struggle for anyone in the industry. The unfortunate side effect of this problem is that often people who are lucky enough to land a construction job are likely to overlook safety infractions as a trade-off for keeping the job. This has a potential to end badly for someone.
Falls Account for Most of The Fatal Construction Accidents
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) states that ‘falls’ account for a third (one of every three construction-related deaths) of the fatalities in construction and are the leading cause of death overall. (Frankly, falls are a deadly problem in all industries (roofing, electrical work, etc.) – nearly half of all fatal falls happen when individuals topple from roofs, ladders and scaffolding.)
Once a worker is above the first floor he or she may be a fall victim because of the multiple factors that put them in danger including everything from unprotected sides to openings in the walls and floor, improper scaffold construction, and even misuse of portable ladders. There are a number of suggestions that construction sites can employ to prevent deadly falls including such things as guardrails, restraints and more.
Construction employees are advised to (or a person who works ‘off the ground’) ask the employers for the ‘fall’ prevention plan. Then use it.
There are many different kinds of fall protection and some are more affected than others. Even with fall protection equipment a construction worker is not guaranteed that he will not get injured or killed in a fall. Fall equipment can fail and employers can fail to implement proper fall protection procedures as required by OSHA.
Our Construction Accident Cases Have Resulted in Changes to Fall Equipment
Just having fall protection is not enough, the safety equipment itself must be effective in saving lives.
The Baumgartner Law Firm has been successful in construction accident cases in getting product manufacturers to make needed changes to their fall protection equipment, which will save others’ lives.
OSHA Fall Protection Rules
Employers have certain obligations for safety of their employees relating to falls. Under OSHA safety rules employers must:
- Place guards on every floor hole
- install guardrails and toe boards
- provide guardrails regardless of height to prevent falls into dangerous equipment
- when appropriate provide safety harnesses and lines, handrails and safety nets.
Additionally, OSHA requires employers to:
- keep working conditions free of known dangers
- keep floors clean and as dry condition is possible
- provide personal protective equipment
- adequately trained workers about job hazards
OSHA is not Always Helpful to the Victim After a Construction Accident
Usually after a fatal accident, OSHA will investigate the incident and prepare an initial report based on their findings. Most the time, the company will seek to negotiate a settlement after an OSHA violation in order to prevent the OSHA citation itself from being admissible in the ensuing wrongful death lawsuit or personal injury case.
Talk with a Construction Accident Law Firm
To speak with a leading construction accident attorney, call the Baumgartner Law Firm at 281-587-1111 to discuss your rights and options.