Falling from a height on a construction site imposes absolute liability on the owner of the property. According to the Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of construction site accidents and many construction site falls are caused by a violation of OSHA regulations. Falling from roofs, scaffolding, and ladders can occur when proper safety equipment and gear to prevent falls and other accidents is not provided. Property owners usually have an obligation to maintain the worksite to prevent hazards from injuring workers.
Falls are the most common cause of fatality at construction sites. Construction workers often have to climb to extreme heights. New York construction workers who fall are often killed or seriously injured because of the immense height of the buildings. Even when the fall is not fatal, the injuries are usually catastrophic, requiring months if not years of rehabilitation, multiple surgeries and the probability of permanent disability.
There are many types of fall injury cases, involving roofers, painters, handymen, carpenters, electricians, welders, crane operators and window washers who:
- Fell from a ladder
- Fell off a roof
- Fell from scaffolding
- Fell through defective flooring, such as a hole in the floor
- Fell off high equipment
- Fell due to faulty ropes or cables
- Fell because of co-worker mistake
- Fell down unfinished stairs
Falling Risks From Scaffolds
Scaffolding creates one of the greatest fall hazards; they are not always constructed properly. A scaffolding accident can cause serious, if not fatal, fall injuries. The most common causes of these accidents are:
– Unprotected sides or wall openings. When the sides of a scaffold aren’t guarded properly, they provide no protection for workers who may get too close to the edge.
– Unguarded steel rebar. The basic frame of scaffolding is rebar. When that rebar is capped insufficiently, or not at all, the protruding edge can pose significant dangers for workers. Clothing can snag, workers can trip or lose balance while trying to avoid the protrusion—all of which can cause the worker to fall off the scaffold.
– Unsafe braces and connectors. When the connections of the scaffolding are not fastened tightly or properly, the stability of the scaffold becomes compromised. A wobbly scaffold has the potential to cause workers to lose balance and fall, or the scaffold itself can collapse.
– Incomplete assembly. Scaffolds must be constructed prior to use. When a worker fails to follow the safety guidelines, the entire structure can become compromised.
Falling Risks From Ladders
Ladders also pose a significant threat for height-related construction dangers. Just as with scaffolding, when a worker falls from a ladder at a great height, the result can be catastrophic. The extent of ladder injuries depends on the following risks:
– Height. With high ladders come high risks. Many ladder accidents involve falls from extreme heights;
– Defective equipment. Ladder accidents can be especially dangerous when the ladder you depend on is defective;
– Negligent coworkers. If you are counting on another coworker to steady your ladder, their negligence or inattention can cause or contribute to a fall;
– Inclement weather. Chances increase that you may fall or be knocked off your ladder, and so do your chances of serious injury.
– Electricity. If your ladder comes into contact with live power lines and is not properly insulated, the charge that goes into you can be extremely dangerous. The shock can cause you to lose your grip and fall, or the electrocution itself could be deadly.
Types of Injuries When
Falling from a Height
Numerous potentially life-altering injuries occur after a fall, such as:
- Chest trauma, including rib fractures
- Collapsed lung
- Internal organ lacerations
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Loss of vision or hearing
An on the job injury is usually covered by Workers’ Compensation, however, construction sites are usually occupied by other employers as well, such as contractors, subcontractors and property owners and often, one or more of these third parties can be liable for a construction worker’s injuries.
– A property owner: If the injury occurs on private property, the property owner may face legal liability for having failed to remedy an unsafe condition that led to a worker’s injury.
– A contractor: Construction sites often host multiple contractors who coordinate their efforts, but do not share employees. Construction workers injured by the careless or reckless actions of an employee of a different contractor may have rights against that contractor for damages.
Construction sites contain hazards for everyone, but they are especially dangerous for construction workers who spend their days there. If you or a loved have been seriously injured in a construction accident such as falling from a height, Karasik Law Group will fight for your family’s right to compensation for every dollar you are entitled to under the law. Call us to today at (718) 502-9112 to schedule a free consultation. And be sure to visit our website at www.karasiklawyers.com. Winning matters, one matter at a time. Win with us! At Karasik Law Group we speak for the injured; our results speak for themselves.
Labor Law Provisions
New York has special provisions to address the unique dangers faced by construction workers.
Labor Law section 240
This law protects the rights of construction workers who suffer a
fall. This legal requirement mandates construction owners and
contractors to provide scaffolding and other safety measures to
Labor Law section 241
This law mandates the provision of safety equipment for all workers.
Under Labor Law section 241(6), a property owner or contractor is
accountable in negligence for an accident that happened under its
supervision or control.