Construction is dangerous work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction fatalities accounted for 21 percent of all work-related deaths in the U.S. in 2015. While the loud, busy nature of a construction site lends itself to a number of dangers, falls consistently rank as the top source of death and injury among construction workers. There were 350 fatal falls on construction sites in 2015, which accounts for 37 percent of all construction-related deaths. Additionally, thousands more workers suffer serious injuries from falls every year that force them to miss work and lose vital income.
Common Sources of Falls on New York Construction Sites
According to a report from The Center for Construction Research and Training, construction falls occur in a wide range of circumstances. Nearly 40 percent involved falls on the same level, while other common situations included falls from:
- Non-moving vehicles
Wet floors, uneven surfaces, job site clutter, failure to utilize safety equipment (or a lack of safety equipment), low lighting, and many other factors can affect a construction worker’s ability to safely perform his job duties.
Common Injuries Caused by Construction Site Falls
Construction site falls can cause a wide range of serious and debilitating injuries. Even from seemingly low heights, falls are dangerous, and many construction workers and their families have experienced firsthand the painful and distressing repercussions of these injuries for years after the incident. Some of the most common fall injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Back injury
These injuries can linger, causing pain and resulting in lost income for weeks, months, and even years after the initial fall. In some cases, the injury is so severe it causes permanent disability or personality changes that cannot be undone.
Falls are Not Simple Accidents, But Incidents That Can Be Prevented
For many of these dangerous circumstances, there are safeguards that can be put in place to help keep construction workers safe on the job. It is the responsibility of employers to make sure all employees understand both the dangers of falls and how to best prevent them. Appropriate and effective equipment should be provided to employees, as well as a specific plan for work tasks and safety. OSHA has even launched a safety initiative aimed at preventing construction fall injuries, which, among other tenets, sets requirements for employers. Employers must:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language the workers understand.
- Plan for and provide safety equipment at no cost to the workers.
- Keep work area in a clean and dry condition, as much as is possible.
Why You Need a New York Construction Site Attorney On Your Side
Whether you feel your employer did their best to protect you and your co-workers or not, when you are injured from a fall on a construction site, you and your family face many significant challenges. Physical pain, emotional distress, and financial strain quickly create a stressful situation. You need and deserve the fullest, most expedient recovery possible, and an experienced attorney can give you the best chance of making that happen. With effective legal representation, it is possible to obtain compensation for:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Other losses related to your injury
Too often, employers or their insurance companies take advantage of injured workers, offering settlements much lower than appropriate or denying necessary medical care. Construction workers need and deserve an advocate on their side, a dedicated and experienced legal team working hard to make sure their voices are heard and their rights are fully protected.At Hofmann & Schweitzer, our experienced legal team has helped many New York and New Jersey construction workers maintain their relationship with their employer while still protecting their rights to care and compensation after an injury. If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury after a job site fall, we may be able to help. Call our New York office today to learn more about who we are and what we do.