Falls are the leading cause of construction site accidents resulting in injury or death and accounted for more than 31% of all construction fatalities, according to the Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA). Workers who are six feet or more above a ground-floor level are at risk for serious injury or death. They may fall from roofs, scaffolding, and ladders. However, many of these accidents may have been prevented if the employer followed proper safety procedures and provided employees with the necessary training and equipment.
Employers in the construction industry often violate several of OSHA’s safety requirements designed to prevent workplace accidents. Lack of protection against falls is the most frequently cited OSHA violation. Under the OSHA regulations, employers are required to provide appropriate safety equipment and gear to prevent falls and other accidents.
Unprotected sides, wall openings, floor holes, improper scaffold construction, unguarded protruding steel re-bars, and the misuse of portable ladders cause the majority of fall-related injuries in the construction industry. Employees who work under dangerous conditions such as unprotected sides of a building, on scaffolding in disrepair or around worksite debris have a high risk of being injured on the job. Failure to use protective gear is another common cause of construction fall accidents.
Employers are often required to use fall protection systems, guardrails, covers and other systems to prevent falls on site. Roof work, for example, has a high potential for an injury-producing fall. One way to prevent these falls is with a personal fall arrest system in which each worker ties off to the anchor and uses a harness. Additionally, employers are required to train employees about known job hazards and about how to operate safety equipment properly.
Construction Fall Accident Liability
A construction site is often chaotic; one or more entities may be legally liable when a construction worker is injured or killed. These may include the site owner, contractors, sub-contractors, or manufacturers of machinery or equipment. While employees may be entitled to compensation under their employers' workers' compensation insurance, some workers are entitled to compensation in a third party claim instead of, or in addition to workers' compensation.