Elevator Accidents and Construction Workers
Construction sites are full of dangerous hazards for the workers who make their living there and elevators can be one of those hazards. Elevator accidents can leave workers severely injured and can even be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year, 17,000 people are injured in accidents involving elevators and escalators and 30 people die. Almost half of these fatalities are construction worker deaths that occur above or inside the elevator shaft.
Construction sites often involve the installation of elevators and workers also need to use on-site industrial elevators to reach their work zones. Injuries can occur both during construction of elevators or while using an on-site elevator that has not been properly maintained. Common sources of construction site elevator injuries include:
- Falls – More than half of all construction worker deaths occur from falls into an exposed elevator shaft
- Mechanical failure of the pulley system
- Exceeding the maximum allowed load
- Lack of safety equipment (harnesses and nets) while working near elevator shafts
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Caught in/between accidents involving elevator doors or other moving parts
Even when elevator accidents are not fatal, construction workers can be severely hurt and left to deal with the long-term trauma of injuries such as:
- Head and neck injuries including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Bruises and lacerations
Some of these may require extensive treatment with expensive hospital stays and lengthy rehabilitation afterwards. Even after an initial recovery, the long-term damage can affect a worker’s ability to earn or even continue in the same occupation.
Preventing Elevator Accidents on Construction Sites
Elevator accidents are easily prevented when employers take the proper safety precautions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has clear safety regulations regarding elevators on construction sites. Besides clearly marking and securing exposed elevator shafts, employers also have an obligation to properly train workers about the dangers of working near or on an elevator. Other OSHA requirements include:
- Posting maximum load limits clearly and making sure they are not exceeded
- Providing safety harnesses and nets to any workers near an elevator shaft that is higher than six feet
- Regular inspection and maintenance of on-site elevators and the use of only qualified elevator repairmen to perform these jobs and make repairs
- Outfitting elevator shafts with guard rail systems
- Installing elevators according to manufacturer instructions
Employers who fail to use proper elevator safety procedures put workers at risk. While Workers’ Compensation may help cover some of the costs for construction workers injured in an elevator accident, the catastrophic effects for some families may require that the responsible party be held liable for the true damage caused by these terrible and preventable accidents.
Piscataway Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Injured Workers
Contact a Piscataway construction accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr if you have been injured in an elevator accident on your job site. We will fight to hold responsible parties accountable and recover the compensation you deserve. Call 732-249-4600 or 877-294-4600 for a free consultation or contact us online. Located in Highland Park, we help injured workers across the state of New Jersey, including those in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.