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Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

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Falling from heights remains the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, 49,250 workers were injured in falling accidents, and 645 were killed in lower-level falls.

Were you injured in a construction site fall accident? Were your injuries the result of another’s negligence?

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys represent injured construction workers, ensuring they recover compensation for medical bills and lost income and help them receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.

Call our construction accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Construction Site Fall

Construction Site Fall Accident Statistics

A job as a construction worker ranks among the most hazardous jobs in the US, falling from heights at a construction site accounting for almost 48% of construction workers’ injuries and 30% of fatalities.

Moreover, one out of five workers suffering a fatal injury in the US is from the building sector. Figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggest that 566 out of 1,623 occupational deaths in the US in 2018 were caused by fatal falls or falling from height hazards.

OSHA also estimates that falling from height risk will continue as the leading cause of occupational deaths in the foreseeable future.

Personal Fall Arrest Systems and Other Fall Protection Measures Preventing Construction Site Fall Accidents

Required personal protective equipment (PPE) [1] and fall restraint systems are crucial to do the job safely on a construction site. Adequate fall protection and safety equipment saves lives, lowers work-related construction site fall injuries, and mitigates fall hazards.

Safety measures to fight fall hazards and keep you protected from falling can include –

  • Safety net systems
  • Safety nets
  • Dall arrest systems
  • Personal fall arrest systems
  • Fixed ladders
  • Guardrail systems
  • Guardrail systems safety net
  • Safety harness
  • Handrails
  • Conveyor belt
  • Self-retracting lifelines
  • Safety belts and other fall protection across the general industry

OSHA requires employers to protect their employees from the dangers of falling. Employers are also required to train workers to safely use protection equipment.

What Causes Construction Site Fall Accidents?

Falling from heights can occur due to insufficient scaffolding, fragile roofs, unprotected edges, unstable equipment, and weather conditions.

Construction workers often work at significant heights using ladders leading to serious falls from above. A lack of protective gear is the main reason behind the high number of falls from heights reported by the construction industry.

Elevated workstations and overhead platforms (i.e., elevated open-sided platforms) present even a competent person with dangers. It creates a more dangerous environment if OSHA standards and safety requirements are ignored, such as a lack of guardrails and toe boards.

On the job site, slippery surfaces, including snow and ice, can cause hazardous conditions when the employer fails to maintain a safe working environment.

Required Fall Protection Plan and OSHA Guidelines/Statements on Construction sites

Most falls from height occur at construction sites. It includes buildings under construction, demolition sites, and other locations where work at a height uses ladders.

OSHA has released specific guidelines for construction companies due to the high number of falls from height accidents in the sector.

The following sample of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines and statements can assist with a falling protection plan:

  • All businesses should have fall prevention measures if workers use ladders at specific heights on the job.
  • Falling prevention systems must be in place if workers operate 12 feet above the ground to safeguard against falls. The limit is five feet for the shipbuilding industry and six feet for construction.
  • Use guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems if there is an unprotected side or leading edge with a drop of more than six feet or more.
  • OSHA [2] mandates different fall-prevention systems to be provided to employees to prevent or reduce construction site fall injuries resulting from height hazards.
  • Mark areas prone to same-level or lower level from above falls, using markings and graphics visible to workers.
  • Forepersons, supervisors, and managers must provide their workers with lanyards, safety harnesses, and other equipment free of cost to allow them to do their jobs safely. Not doing so is a clear violation of OSHA guidelines meant to protect workers from construction site fall accidents and other incidents.
  • Harnesses offer the best personal fall protection and are the safest fall arrest systems currently used. Businesses of all sizes must use harnesses of one type or another to work safely. Equipment such as harnesses also helps with positioning when working in a confined space.
  • A personal fall arrest system or safety gear often successfully arrests the fall risk and ensures that a falling person doesn’t hit the ground.
  • Using equipment such as self-retracting lanyards to reduce the fall length acts as seatbelts and can be released or retracted by workers during normal movement.
  • Fall protection plans emphasize safety equipment and personal fall arrest systems, guard railing, and toe board at elevated heights to prevent workers from sudden construction site falls.
  • Surfaces with an unprotected side or no guard rail, with a fall distance of four feet to six feet, can still offer job hazards to workers.

Construction Site Fall Injuries

Construction site falls often lead to severe injuries that can sometimes prove fatal and are often life-changing. Therefore, employee fall protection and safety awareness training is critical in preventing a construction site fall accident.

Six feet in general industry work is a long way to fall and can cause many injuries and deaths under normal on-the-job working conditions.

The most common construction site fall injuries include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Fractured elbows
  • Thoracic injuries
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Ankle joint fracture
  • Fracture of upper limbs
  • Broken skull
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Ruptured discs
  • Wrongful death

Injuries depend on several factors, including the height from where the person fell. Falling from minor heights below two to four feet does not easily cause severe significant injury. In contrast, falling from an elevation of more than 12 feet could lead to severe damage to the body.

Hiring a Construction Site Fall Attorney to Resolve Your Personal Injury Case

Did you sustain an injury in falls to a lower level or through roof work? Did a family member suffer a wrongful death through negligence?

Our construction site fall attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can offer legal counsel and recover compensation on your behalf against the company or property owner for injuries or loss of income. We can also assist you in claiming workers’ compensation.

Call our law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free case evaluation using the contact form.

We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements and ensure you pay nothing until we win your case.

Resources: [1] OSHA, [2] OSHA

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