Preventing Construction Site Falls

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 5:00pm by

Each year in the United States, thousands of construction workers sustain fall-related injuries on the job, some of which are fatal. According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010:

  • There were 5.7 million construction workers nationwide
  • Workers in the construction industry sustained around 202,100 nonfatal injuries
  • 774 construction workers died from an occupational injury, the highest number of occupational deaths for all industries
  • 264 construction workers died from fall injuries, the leading cause of occupational death in the industry

When construction workers are seriously injured at work, they may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Moreover, when a construction worker dies in a work-related fall or other construction accident, his or her family may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. A qualified Atlantic City injury attorney can review the specifics of your case to determine what parties may be legally liable.

Slip and Falls and Trip and Falls

Sometimes workers fall due to tripping over an object or slipping on a wet or greasy surface. Construction workers and their employers can take the following steps to prevent slip and fall and trip and fall accidents:

  • Dispose of trash and scrap promptly and only in designated areas
  • Store all tools, equipment and personal items in a safe place when not being used
  • Keep walkways clear of debris at all times
  • Use cordless tools if possible
  • Tape down cords or run them at a safe height
  • Plan deliveries so as to minimize the materials on site at any given time
  • Clean up spills immediately and barricade wet or greasy areas
  • Fix damaged steps and install handrails on stairways
  • Keep all areas of the work site well lit

Workers should also wear appropriate footwear and keep their shoelaces tied at all times.

Ladders and Scaffolding

Other construction site falls involve working at a height, such as on a ladder or on scaffolding. When it comes to ladder and scaffold safety, workers and employers should:

  • Use sturdy equipment and secure it properly
  • Inspect ladders and scaffolds before each use
  • Remove defective equipment from service
  • Avoid standing on the top two steps of a ladder
  • Never allow ladders or scaffolds to become greasy or wet
  • Block pedestrian traffic around areas where ladders or scaffolds are being used
  • Follow the manufacturer’s weight specifications
  • Never use a ladder on top of a scaffold
  • Install guard rails and toe boards on scaffolds
  • Use fall protection equipment such as nets and body harnesses
  • Never move a ladder or scaffold when someone is on it

Furthermore, employers should train employees in the proper use of ladders and scaffolding.

Additional Safety Tips

Other tips for preventing falls at construction sites include:

  • Covering floor holes
  • Installing guard rails and toe boards anywhere workers might fall onto or into dangerous machines or equipment
  • Training workers about fall hazards and providing them with personal protective equipment at no cost

If you have been injured in a construction accident or your loved one was killed in one, contact an experienced Atlantic City injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights.