Facts about Fall Hazards

The leading cause of construction site fatalities are falls from height, while slip-and-falls (falls on one level) are a leading cause of injuries. It is therefore a major concern for those involved in the construction industry as well as the occupational safety and regulation body.

Fall hazards are identified as a part of the so-called “Fatal Four” in construction in company with electrocution, struck-by, and caught-in accidents. These are the main causes of fatalities (59% in 2009) and injuries in construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identified the incidence of different types of fall hazards over a 13-year period (1992-2005) and determined that nearly one out of three was from the roof, 1 out of 5 was from a stage, scaffold or ladder, and 1 out of 10 from girders. From the total of fall hazard fatalities, one-fourth was from falls from lifts, stationary vehicles, and existing openings i.e. sky roof.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) addresses the issue of fall hazards by requiring the provision and use of fall protection gear for workers working more than 4 feet from the ground or when using or around dangerous machinery and equipment. As pointed out in the website of law firm Hach & Rose, the construction company is responsible for providing the proper safety equipment and tools which are in good condition and regularly maintained, and for the training of workers in their use. In New York, construction companies and contractors are absolutely liable for worksite injuries or fatalities, so it is in their best interest to see to it that their workers strictly follow safety regulations for fall prevention.

Some examples of how fall hazard injuries can happen:

  • Use of a makeshift scaffold or used beyond its load capacity i.e. 4 people for a scaffold designed for two
  • Failure to wear safety harness or fall protection gear
  • Lack of warning signs on open holes or hazardous areas
  • Faulty harness or climbing equipment i.e. ladders

If you have been seriously injured in a fall hazard situation in a construction site, you may need to seek compensation for your medical and other expenses. Find out how by asking a construction accident lawyer.

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