Construction Site Fall Injury Lawyer Serving New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Falls are one of the most common causes of injuries and deaths on construction sites. In 2007 there were at least 442 deaths as a result of construction falls. Falls on construction sites can happen for a variety of reasons, including insufficient guardrails or fall prevention measures, lack of fall protection (such as self-retracting lanyards and lifelines), improperly assembled scaffolding, loose flooring, or uncovered or unmarked holes.
Generally speaking, workers must be protected from falls from a distance of more than six (6) feet. By example, see OSHA 1926.501(b)(2)(i). Means of protecting workers from falls can involve the use of guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems. Fall arrest systems often include a harness attached to safety line, such as a lanyard or lifeline.
Workers also face dangers from construction falls because of unsafe, loose flooring and from unmarked holes. Regulations, such as 1926.501(b)(4), require that workers be protected from falls and from stepping in holes on the job. If the hole is less than six feet above a lower, stable surface, the hole may be covered by a material that is strong enough to support twice the weight of the workers and equipment that may stand on the hole cover. The cover must also be marked by color. If a hole is more than six (6) feet above a lower stable surface, additional safeguards may be required, such as guardrails or other fall protection measures.
Construction falls can also be caused by construction debris and tripping hazards. Federal regulations, including OSHA provisions, mandate that frequent and regular inspections of the job sites, materials, and equipment to be made by competent persons designated on job sites to check for potential safety hazards, including tripping hazards.
OSHA also has a general housekeeping duty, which states that during the course of construction, alteration, or repairs, form and scrap lumber with protruding nails, and all other debris, shall be kept cleared from work areas, passageways, and stairs, in and around buildings or other structures. (See OSHA 1926.25(a)). Following this basic safety rule can help avoid construction falls. OSHA’s website has a list of safety tips to avoid construction fall accidents on job sites.
John Mattiacci has handled several cases involving falls on construction sites. These cases have involved falls due to improperly marked holes or uncovered holes, trip and fall accidents caused by construction debris, and lack of adequate scaffolding, guardrails or fall protection.
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