Falls on a construction sites are one of the leading causes of death and injuries for construction workers. In fact, deaths from falls top the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) fatal four construction site accidents. However, many of these accidents could be prevented if employers followed OSHA’s rules for a safe construction site and common sense safety practices for avoiding these deadly accidents.

Five Causes of Falls At Construction Sites

Construction workers can fall in many ways, including off roofs, ladders, balconies, stairways, and holes in roofs and flooring. Common causes include:

  • Ladders. Workers can slip from ladders when an employer fails to provide the proper ladder for the job or provides ones that are cracked or broken. In addition, the ladder must be secured to avoid the ladder shifting or moving while the employee is on it or he could fall and suffer serious injuries.
  • Scaffolding. Scaffolding is used to provide construction site workers with a safe platform to work on at heights. Accidents can happen if the ladder is not properly secured to the scaffolding or if guardrails are not installed or installed improperly, such as not being plumb and secure.
  • Unprotected areas. Workers can fall from sides and edges, opened wall spaces, and holes in floors that do not have protections to prevent accidents. Guardrails are critical, especially from heights where they can suffer life-threatening injuries or death.
  • Unguarded steel rebar. Steel rebar is used to reinforce concrete in many ways on construction sites. If the steel reinforcing bars are unprotected or protrude, they pose an especially dangerous risk for those who could impale themselves in a fall.
  • Lack of a fall prevention system. When workers work from six feet or higher above the ground, they need a personal fall arrest system to safeguard them if they do slip. These include a full body harness, a rope-grab lifeline, and connectors. Many employers fail to provide this life-saving equipment or if they do, provide inadequate ones or fail to insist that employees use them.

OSHA makes it easy for employers to prevent falls at construction sites by providing detailed regulations and guidelines on how to follow them. Sadly, too many employers ignore these rules. Construction workers pay for their employers’ negligence and suffer serious injuries and death from preventable falls.

Have you suffered a fall at a construction site? Order our FREE electronic book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know. Your Workers’ Comp Guide, to learn about your legal rights as an employee. And call us at 877-360-0183 for a FREE consultation to find out what compensation you could be entitled to and how we can help you.

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Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer