Falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents

by Jay Pate

Falls kill. In fact, falls are the most frequent cause of death when construction site accidents occur. One out of every three construction-related deaths is because of a fall. Each year in the U.S., more than 200 construction workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured by a fall.

These falls are preventable. According to OSHA, falls on construction sites can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps: Plan. Provide. Train.

PLAN: Employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely when working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs. When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include adequate safety equipment. Employers should plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site.

PROVIDE: All workers who are working six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. Employers must provide these workers with fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.

TRAIN: Employers must train workers in hazard recognition and in the care and safe use of ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment they’ll be using on the job. Many falls could be prevented if workers had been properly trained and understood proper set-up and safe use of equipment.

The most mentioned causes of falls include:

  1. Faulty working surfaces and platforms (slippery surfaces, improper concrete surfaces, slippery roof, use of platforms, bamboo scaffold, and slip of ladder base)
  2. Workers’ safety behaviors and attitudes (e.g., safety procedure, perceived risk, evaluation of risk, operation at unsafe speed, or horseplay while working), and
  3. Construction structure and facilities (e.g., the stability of the building’s framework, and the reliability of the construction equipment).

Other consistently rated factors contributing to risks of falls include the safety behavior at the contractor/managerial level, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and methods, the worker’s health and physical characteristics, and the environment at the construction site.

In addition to state rules that might apply, there are specific federal regulations that govern safety at construction sites, including specific regulations regarding fall protection. Any investigation of a fall at a construction site needs to include a close review of whether applicable federal standards were being followed.

To successfully bring a claim involving a construction site fall, clients need an experienced, educated attorney on their side. They also need an attorney with the financial resources to take the case to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have tried hundreds of cases to verdict and have settled hundreds more. In 2010 alone, we negotiated settlements of personal injury and wrongful death claims totaling more than $50 million.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson also has the financial resources to handle personal injury cases from start to finish. In fact, there are many instances in which we invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a case in order to take it to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.

Contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for your free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal right to compensation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out a free legal consultation form.