A tragic story out of Manhattan this week after a construction worker fell to his death on September 15 highlights the dangers construction workers face every day. This man, Bruno Travalja, was an architect working on the high-rise building.
Early reports say that he was taking measurements and may have fallen after standing up. The details of the incident are still under investigation by the police and the New York City Department of Buildings.
Falls are the most common OSHA violation
A 2016 report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) names fall protection as the number one safety violation federal investigators uncover in workplaces. While any worker can fall, construction workers are at increased risk for falls, especially when working at elevated heights or near unguarded openings.
OSHA's fall protection standards cover many specific circumstances, including:
- Workspaces with unprotected sides and edges
- Workers building a leading edge or working above an area where leading edges are being built
- Unguarded holes, including skylights
- Workers in hoist areas
- Walkways and ramps that could lead to falls of at least six feet
- Working in excavation areas
- Roofing work
- Working near wall openings
In addition, the OSHA report lists scaffold and ladder violations in its top 10 cited safety violations.
What can workers do?
Workers' compensation covers medical expenses and partial wage replacement for on-the-job injuries. When a worker dies, the surviving family typically receives death benefits from workers' comp.
Whether or not the injury or death was the result of an OSHA violation, the worker and/or family may seek workers' comp as well as additional financial damages from a negligent third party. This is quite common in construction accident cases because there are so many employers, contractors, subcontractors, owners, suppliers, manufacturers and other third parties involved.
You can speak with a work accident lawyer to learn whether you have an additional case for compensation or if you need help with the workers' comp process.