Whenever an accident occurs that could have been prevented by simple means, it is perfectly justified for victims and their families to demand recompense from the people responsible for their suffering. Falls are a serious threat to construction workers and the cause of far too many fatal accidents and life changing injuries.
To think that the majority of falls can be prevented through the use of personal protection equipment and the installation of guard rails really makes it very difficult to hear the news that a worker has been injured in a fall on the job— especially when the injury forever affects the victim’s ability to live a normal life or when the accident claims a life.
Prevention Measures Can Save Lives
Whenever workers are required to work on raised surfaces or at dangerous heights, the safety of the work area should be the priority of the contractor— as an employer is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. Guardrails and barricades can often make the difference between a life ending injury and a nonevent. Areas where guardrails should be used include the following.
- Scaffolding— many workers fall from scaffolding simply because they take one step too far when moving backwards or trip over tools or equipment. Guardrails can prevent such a simple error from resulting in tragedy.
- Open pits— any area that has an open space that workers could potentially fall into should be marked off with warnings of the danger and contain some form of barricade that would prevent an accidental fall.
- Elevator shafts— workers who must perform their duties in the vicinity of open elevator shafts may accidentally back over the edge of the shaft, resulting in serious injury or death. This could be the result of one worker walking backwards while assisting another or as the result of a trip or slip accident.
- Lack of top rails in wall openings— walls that have not yet been completed present an opportunity for workers to fall through the openings and off the side of the building they are working on. Guardrails provide protection should a worker slip, lose footing or inadvertently back into the open space.
The Responsibility of Employers
Safety begins with employers— through training programs and the availability of safety devices mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Violations of OSHA standards are often associated with injuries and deaths that result from falls and employers can be held liable because it is their responsibility by law to provide the safest work environment possible for their employees.
It is important to launch an investigation into the cause of any injury that you have sustained or when a loved one dies in a construction accident for the very reason that it may help ensure that the employer is forced to change its ways in order to prevent others from being involved in serious accidents.
When an employer is found to be in violation of OSHA safety standards, this provides additional justification for filing a claim following an injury or wrongful death and victims may be entitled to compensation for the cost of their medical treatment, time off of work, long term rehabilitative treatment, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering.
If the victim died in the accident, his or her family may be entitled to damages for the loss of income to the household, the loss of consortium and the pain and suffering endured by the loved one at the time of death as well as the hardship on the family members who have been left without a parent, companion or breadwinner.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident or lost a loved one in an accident that was completely preventable, contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today to arrange a free consultation with an attorney to learn more about your rights and legal options. After performing a detailed investigation into the cause of you or your loved one’s accident, we will let you know what your most practical course of action should be. If we are unable to help you secure the compensation you are entitled to, our advice and services will be free.