Falls on Construction Sites Still a Major Concern
Slip and fall accidents among those in the construction industry remain a major concern despite increased safety regulations and mandates for personal protective safety equipment and comprehensive training. Serious injuries and fatalities occur at an alarming rate when workers fall from elevated platforms, scaffolding, and ladders. Injuries also happen when workers fall into other objects and into deep trenches.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that 35 percent of all work-related fatalities result from fall accidents. Data from the report suggests that the lack of safety equipment and proper training are the main obstacles to preventing these deaths. Fifty-four percent of workers fell to their death because they did not have a personal fall arrest system in place, and 20 percent died within the first two months of a new work assignment.
Causes of Fall Accidents in the Construction Industry
The majority of fall accidents that occur in the construction industry can be prevented by following safety protocols and providing worker training. The most common causes of fall accidents on a construction site include:
- Scaffolding malfunctions
- Lack of guardrails on platforms
- Poorly maintained and broken stairs
- Debris in walkways
- Uneven and unstable surfaces
- Slippery floors
- Lack of personal protective equipment
While the most serious injuries occur with falls from highly elevated surfaces, even a fall from a six-foot drop can lead to catastrophic injury or death. Brain injuries, broken bones, back and spinal injuries, cuts, lacerations, and internal organ damage are commonly associated with fall accidents.
Preventing Fall Accidents in the Construction Industry
Employers are legally responsible to provide personal protective safety equipment to all workers and ensure that all construction equipment and work surfaces are routinely inspected and properly maintained. Failure to do so can result in citations and fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA mandates and enforces safety requirements designed to protect workers and keep the workplace free from unnecessary hazards.
Preventive safety measures that can reduce the number of serious and fatal fall accidents on a construction site include:
- Comprehensive safety training programs for all employees
- Routine safety meetings to reinforce preventive measures
- Access to personal protective safety clothing and equipment
- Clean work areas with walkways that are clear of debris
- Regular inspection and maintenance of stairways, scaffolds, ladders, tools, and machinery
- Installation of guardrails, toe boards, screens, and nets to prevent and break falls
- Workplace safety plans that comply with OSHA safety standards
- Reporting of unsafe working conditions
OSHA safety campaigns, online resources, and educational materials are available for employers and workers to access and utilize. Violations should be reported to OSHA immediately to ensure the safety of all workers.
New Brunswick Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Construction Worker Safety
If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction fall accident, call the New Brunswick construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 877-249-4600, or 732-249-4600, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients 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.