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Falls at Construction Sites


Accidents involving falls are too frequent in the construction industry. There are many places from which a construction worker can fall while on a job site, including ladders, scaffolding, roofs, unprotected floors, and more. Hazards emerge continually in the normal course of demolition and building. However, data indicates that employers could do more to prevent falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspects jobsites and issues citations when employers violate standards. Of the top 10 most commonly cited violations, five are directly applicable to reducing the risk of falls, including the following:

  • Fall protection
  • Hazard communication
  • Scaffolding
  • Ladders
  • Fall protection in training requirements

In 2019, OSHA penalized two Philadelphia construction firms after inspecting a job site at which a construction worker had died after falling 20 feet from a residential structure. The violations included failing to provide proper fall protection systems and not identifying and correcting hazardous conditions.

Types of Fall Injuries

Although occupational injuries, such as strains, sprains, and overexertion are more common, injuries caused by falling are often more severe, affecting vital organs, such as the brain and spine. Types of injuries caused by falls include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury: A direct hit to the brain as a result of a fall can cause decreased cognitive function, language difficulties, and loss of motor skills.
  • Internal injuries: Internal bleeding may occur if the liver, stomach, kidney, spleen, or intestines are hurt in a fall.
  • Spinal cord injury: Workers who land on their back after a fall can end up partially or totally paralyzed.

Each year, approximately four out of 10 construction worker fatalities are due to falls, many of which could have been prevented. The chances of surviving a fall from 50 feet are low. However, falling from as low as six feet can be fatal.

How to Reduce the Risk of Fall Accidents

Reducing the risk of fall accidents requires planning. However, investing time and money up front can actually save costs in the long run. Steps for preventing fall accidents include the following:

  • Regularly inspect job sites to identify hazards
  • Establish a procedure for promptly communicating hazards to workers
  • Provide harnesses, safety nets, and other personal fall arrest systems
  • Ensure sturdiness of scaffolding, ladders, and aerial lifts
  • Train workers to use the equipment properly

Even the best equipment cannot prevent workers from falling if they are not trained on how to use it. If aerial lifts are overloaded or not properly secured, they may tip over. Scaffolding that is not secure may collapse. Conducting hands-on safety training on a regular basis is crucial. This includes instructing workers on how to spot and communicate hazards, as well as the proper use of all safety equipment and systems.

Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP Fight for the Rights of Injured Workers

Some employers still fail to put measures in place to mitigate the risk of falling, and fall accidents continue to occur, particularly on construction sites. If you or someone you know was injured in a construction accident, contact a qualified Philadelphia work injury lawyer at Gross & Kenny, LLP today to find out if you are eligible for benefits. For a free consultation, fill out our online form or call us at 267-589-0090. We serve injured workers throughout Pennsylvania from our office in Philadelphia.

A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19:
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A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19:

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