Construction Site Fall Accidents
Construction sites are potentially dangerous places for workers and bystanders. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents, accounting for one-third of all construction-related deaths. With the implementation of the correct and safe equipment on the worksite, construction accident falls can be prevented. Contractors should make use of safer equipment and regular and frequent employee training sessions which would promote the reduction in severe injuries and deaths caused by falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has mandated that employees be protected from falling at heights of 6 feet or more. In order to comply with this requirement, OSHA requires employers to:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and a dry condition.
- Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in language that they can understand.
When contractors are bidding for work for a construction job, the cost of furnishing safe equipment, including fall protection ladders, scaffolds, lifts and stairways, training workers regularly in safety standards should be included in the bid amount. Workers should be protected when working at edges at heights greater than 4 feet. Construction workers should also be trained in safe use of scaffolds, ladders, lifts and cranes. All of the safety equipment that is used on construction sites should be regularly inspected repaired or replaced.
It has been reported by OSHA that 4,114 worker fatalities in private industries occurred in 2011, with 721 of those on construction sites. The leading cause of those 721 deaths on construction sites were falls (251), followed by electrocution.
OSHA has published workplace safety procedures which include requirements for scaffolding, fall protection, communication, and respiratory protection, control of hazardous energy, powered industrial trucks, ladders, electrical systems and machine guarding.
Construction site safety is paramount to saving lives and protecting workers. There’s a lot employers should be doing make sure that its employees are safe in the workplace. OSHA requires that fall protection equipment be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces and six feet for construction sites. OSHA also requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
OSHA sets out these guidelines for safer working areas:
- Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk.
- Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
- Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling.
- Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.
Construction site falls can be prevented most of the time. Many construction site fall injuries occur because of a worker’s haste or another worker’s inattention, but also because the contractors in charge of the work have not followed the OSHA guidelines. Many employers, owners, general contractors, engineers and architects require daily safety meetings particularly where the work being done is above ground and where the hazards of falling are present. These meetings can be informative in that employees can speak to known hazards that can be corrected before any worker is either exposed to the danger or is injured during work. It is always best to put safety ahead of any of the usual construction site issues that regularly arise in the course of the construction work.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction site fall accident, you will need to call on an experienced construction site accident attorney. Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has more than 40 years of trial experience handling construction site fall accidents.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a construction site fall accident, contact Kreisman Law Offices at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. We are here to assist you and your family so that responsible parties are held accountable for the injuries or death to workers involved in construction site fall accidents.