A worker was seriously injured in a construction accident where he fell two stories after stepping backwards into an opening in a house that was being built. The 30-year-old worker cracked his head on the basement floor and sustained a traumatic brain injury. While the rescue was complicated by the fact the basement stairs had yet to be built, emergency crews were eventually able to extract the worker and he is expected to survive.
Fall Hazards are the Most Common Cause of Fatal Construction Accidents
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), fall hazards contribute to more than 30 percent of all fatal construction accidents. Additionally, falls are the cause of 28 percent of all spinal cord injuries. However, these deaths and injuries are preventable when construction companies follow these three steps:
- Create a plan beforehand – When workers must operate from heights, such as scaffolds, roofs and ladders, construction companies must plan ahead to ensure workers are kept safe. This also allows construction companies to know which type of safety equipment to provide.
- Provide safety equipment – All construction workers who are more than six feet off the ground are at risk of death or injuries sustained from falls. To prevent this, construction companies must provide scaffolds, ladders, personal fall arrests systems (PFAS) and harnesses.
- Train all workers on the use of safety equipment and recognizing fall hazards – This is the big one. Falls can be easily prevented if workers are trained on what fall hazards to look for. Additionally, when workers are familiar with how to set up fall prevention equipment, it is less likely they will sustain injuries in an accident.
While construction is considered one of the most dangerous industries, it is not innately dangerous when the proper safety precautions are adhered to and employers take the time to protect their workers. Unfortunately, some construction employees will cut corners on safety to save on costs. When they do so, it is unacceptable and they should be held accountable for all injuries that result.
Spevack Law Firm is a New Jersey workers’ compensation law firm that helps injured workers in the Teaneck, Iselin and New Brunswick areas.