New research shows that over a 33-year period falls on the job accounted for almost 50% of construction worker fatalities. Additionally, more than half of the workers who died did not have access to fall protection, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).
Researchers culled data from the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program. They found fatality reports for nearly 770 construction accident deaths and created the searchable Construction FACE Database from those reports.
After analyzing the fatality reports in the new database, the following determinations were made from 1982 to 2015:
- 42% of the deaths (325) involved a fall from a height.
- 54% of the workers who died did not have access to a personal fall arrest system (PFAS), and 23% did have such access but did not utilize it.
- Most workers with PFAS access worked for home building contractors, as well as contractors in roofing, siding and sheet metal.
- 107 of the 325 fatal falls were from at least 30 feet.
- 20% of the 768 fatalities happened in the workers’ first 60 days on the job.
The researchers also found that while the study could not assess the effectiveness of OSHA fall protection standards established in the 1990s, the high number of fall deaths from lower heights suggests the need for an OSHA requirement for fall protection from six feet and higher in the construction field.
Construction Site Worker Protection Requirements
It is alarming that many construction companies have such limited fall protection systems in place. Falls are the top cause of death on construction sites. Scaffolding collapses are a particularly notorious problem, causing serious injuries and death every year. If you have been hurt in a scaffolding accident, talk to the Mann Law Firm today about filing a lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim.
OSHA standards require employers to provide proper safety equipment to workers to prevent falls and related accidents. In general industry, protection for falls must be given for four-feet elevations. In construction, the protection must be at six feet. But there is more that companies should do to prevent construction site falls.
Contractors and construction employers should guard holes in floors where workers can fall through by installing rails, a hole cover or a toe board. Also, a guardrail and toe board need to be installed around open-sided, elevated platforms, elevated floors and around any dangerous equipment. Other proper fall protection equipment that should be provided at construction sites are safety nets, safety harnesses and stair railings.
But when estimating a construction job, some companies may not note all hazards, and may not provide proper fall protection in the project budget. Or, workers may not be properly trained to use fall protection equipment. Roof work has a high risk for a fall resulting in injury or death.
Recovering Damages in a Fall on a Construction Site
If you are a worker on a construction site and are injured in a fall, your recovery could be affected by workers’ compensation rules. If your employer was the only one that is responsible for protecting you against a fall, you may be entitled only to workers’ compensation. You may not be able to sue your employer for damages. In other states, you may be able to sue your employer if it acted in an intentional manner to cause the injury. It is wise to consult with a construction accident attorney in Georgia to determine your legal options – whether it is a lawsuit or filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Get The Legal Help You Need from a Construction Injury Attorney Today
Were you or your loved one injured in a construction accident fall? The Mann Law Firm is highly experienced helping Middle Georgia construction workers who have been injured on the job due to the negligence of another party. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical costs and pain and suffering. Please call us today at 478-742-3381.