Deadly Falls Continue to Plague Construction Workers

After recently creating a unique database from numbers provided by the CDC’s NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program (FACE), researchers with the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) discovered that, over a 33-year period, falls accounted for nearly half of all construction worker deaths. And of that number, over half happened because workers were not using fall-protection equipment. Reports for 768 construction industry fatalities between 1982 and 2015 revealed that:

  • 42 percent (325) of all construction fatalities involved falls.
  • 54 percent of the workers killed in falls had no access to a personal fall arrest system (PFAS), and 23 percent had access to a PFAS but did not use it.
  • Most of the workers with no access to PFAS worked for residential building, roofing, siding, and sheet metal contractors.
  • 107 of the 325 fatal falls were from 30 feet or higher.
  • 20 percent of fall deaths occurred in the victims’ first two months on the job.

“Even though this study was unable to assess effectiveness of OSHA [Occupational Health and Safety Administration] fall protection standards established in 1995, a considerable number of fall fatalities from lower heights provides strong evidence of the need for the OSHA requirement that fall protection be provided at elevations of 6 feet or more in the construction industry,” researchers said.

In the study’s abstract, the researchers say their new database enabled them to analyze FACE reports “quantitatively and efficiently, to improve understanding of work-related fatalities injury prevention.”

Tucker Lawyers fights hard to recover proper compensation for the loved ones of construction workers killed at work.

To prevent employees from being injured from falls, the CPWR encourages the following guidelines and practices:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open-sided platform, floor, or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent worker falls.
  • Other means of fall protection, including safety harnesses and lines, safety nets, stair railings, and handrails, where appropriate.

OSHA also requires employers to:

  • Provide danger-free working conditions wherever possible
  • Keep floors in work areas clean and, as far as possible, dry
  • Select and provide required personal protective equipment free to workers
  • Train workers about job hazards in a language they can understand.

Furthermore, the CPWR recommends the following:

When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include provisions for the purchase of specific safety equipment for the work performed and have it be available at the construction site. An example for a roofing job: Think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select appropriate fall protection, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).

If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a construction fall, Tucker Lawyers can potentially recover substantial compensation for your losses. Call (516) 399-2364 for a free consultation with an experienced construction accident lawyer.

Employers should also secure (or make certain their contractors have) the right ladders or scaffolds to complete the job safely. For roof work, if workers use PFAS, provide a harness for each worker to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits and is regularly inspected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions Answered

Our team has responded to frequently asked questions about deadly falls at construction sites. If you have questions of your own, please call us for answers!

What compensation is available for the loved ones of deceased construction workers?

The loved ones of a deceased construction worker can potentially receive workers’ comp survivor benefits consisting of weekly cash payments. They may also file a wrongful death lawsuit if an unlawfully acting third party was involved in the death.

Should the loved ones of a deceased construction worker hire an attorney?

Yes. Victims’ family members need an advocate during this difficult time to safeguard much-needed compensation from profit-driven insurance companies.

Who can be held liable for a deadly fall at a construction site?

For workers’ comp claims, no one is liable. However, for a third-party claim, any party not part of the company, such as the general public and equipment manufacturers, can be held liable for a deadly fall.

What is the time limit for seeking compensation after a construction accident fatality?

Workers’ comp claims must be filed within two years of the accident. Third-party lawsuits must be filed within three years.

We are available to answer more questions whenever you need answers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss your concerns.

Speak With a Construction Accident Lawyer Today

Learn What You Are Entitled To

If you’ve been injured by a fall on a construction site or a family member has been killed by one, our NYC personal injury lawyers at Tucker Lawyers PC are available to answer your legal questions arising from these accidents.

Contact us through our online form or call 516-399-2364. We offer free consultations for new clients. You deserve to know your options.

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Managing Attorney John. J. Tucker, Esq.

John has personally handled thousands of clients who were victims of another’s negligence and fights relentlessly for their rights. John enjoys bringing closure to a client’s matter so that the injured party can move forward with their life. His background enables him to evaluate complex liability related claims and bring resolution to claims in a record time frame. [ Attorney Bio ]

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