How Do Falls on Construction Sites Happen?
As a construction employee, you depend on your employer for a safe work environment where reasonable measures are taken to protect you from injury. Unfortunately, an employer’s failure to ensure a safe workplace can lead to tragic results. According to the Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of construction site accidents and are the number one killer of construction workers. Even a fall of only a few feet can result in severe injuries or death.
Sadly, most falls experienced by construction workers could have been prevented with proper training, correct safety gear, or other strategies to mitigate the ever-present hazards on building sites.
Understanding the common causes of construction site falls can help workers recognize dangerous situations and protect themselves from injury. Unfortunately, even the most careful employee can suffer a devastating workplace accident. If you’ve been hurt by a construction site fall, you have legal rights. Let an experienced Texas construction site accident attorney explain the top reasons for falls and what you can do if you have been hurt on the job.
What Are the Most Frequent Causes of Falls on Construction Sites?
Construction sites are naturally risky areas. However, responsible employers should take every measure possible to ensure the safety of their crew.
Various factors can cause falls, but some issues lead to injuries more often than others. The following are the top five reasons for construction site falls.
Inadequate Fall Protection
When construction workers are doing jobs that require working from a height, their employer must provide them with the necessary equipment and training to maintain their safety. A failure to make fall protection gear that meets strict OSHA standards available can result in serious injuries. Examples of breakdowns in safety systems include:
- Lack of guardrails on scaffolding, scissor lifts, and other areas
- Failed or missing safety nets
- Lack of fall arrest gear, including helmets, harness straps, buckles, hooks, and rings
- Poor maintenance of fall arrest gear, leading to equipment failure
- Improper use of fall arrest gear or safety systems, often due to a lack of training
It is easy to become complacent when working on ladders because they are not very high off the ground, but falling from a ladder can still result in broken bones, severe head and brain injuries, and even death. Ladders should be inspected frequently for wear and breakage. Additionally, employers should ensure workers have the correct ladder for the job they are performing, and proper supervision and safety gear must be provided.
Slip and Trip Accidents
It is not necessary to fall from a height to experience a serious injury. Same-level falls can also result in severe damage to the body. Construction sites often present a myriad of slipping and tripping hazards that workers must navigate.
Common causes of slip and trip accidents include:
- Slick surfaces from spilled substances like oil, paint, or water
- Hastily built walkways with dangers such as uneven surfaces, protruding nails, and loose boards
- Misplaced tools or other objects unexpectedly blocking a walking surface
Falls From Roofs
Incomplete roofs pose many threats to a construction worker’s safety. When working at an incline, any loss of balance can send a worker tumbling to the ground. Stepping on a loose piece of roofing material can cause the worker to slide off the edge of the building, causing serious injuries. There’s also the risk of falling through a rotten section of the roof or an unsecured hole, such as an opening for a skylight.
Aerial Lift Accidents
Any time heavy machinery is used on a construction job, the risks for injury increase. Aerial lifts can be incredibly dangerous if they are not used correctly. Potential causes of falls from aerial lifts include:
- Incorrect placement of the lift on uneven or unstable ground, leading to tipping or swaying
- Lift operator error
- Mechanical failure or defects
What Can I Do if I Was Injured on the Job?
If you have been injured in a fall that resulted from the negligence of your employer or a third party, you have the right to seek compensation. In most cases, your primary option for recovery will involve a workers’ compensation claim since employers are generally protected from lawsuits if they pay into workers’ compensation plans. However, if your accident was the fault of a third party, such as a vendor or an outside crane operator, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them for your losses.
Following a construction site accident, the most important action you can take is to promptly seek legal counsel from a trusted law firm to explore your legal rights and options. Whether you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim, or both, your legal team will provide the support and knowledge you need to recover a fair settlement. Meeting required deadlines and filing the correct forms is critical to the success of your case. Your lawyer can handle these essential tasks for you so that you can focus on your healing.
What Compensation Could I Recover?
In a personal injury case, you may be able to seek damages for losses resulting from your injury, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost vacation time and bonuses
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Why Hire a Workplace Injury Attorney?
No matter what variety of negligent acts caused your construction site fall, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. Our legal team at Shariff Law Firm, PLLC has years of experience helping injured workers recover maximum damages for their losses. For strong, compassionate counsel and representation in your workplace injury claim, call us today at 713-244-8392 for a free consultation.