Construction sites are some of the most dangerous workplaces under even the best conditions. Careless contractors and supervisors can substantially increase the risk of accidents, particularly slips, trips and falls.
Turley Redmond & Rosasco assists construction workers who have been injured on the job in New York. Because we handle workers’ compensation, Social Security and personal injury cases, we can advise you on the full range of recovery and benefits options available to you.
Falls are the Leading Cause of Death in Construction
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) refers to the four most common causes of construction deaths as the “fatal four,” and at the top of the list is falls. According to OSHA, falls accounted for close to 40 percent of all fatal injuries, accounting for 364 out of the 937 total construction deaths.
Trip and Fall Hazards
A fall from height is a catastrophic event. Even from a relatively minor height, from on top of a short ladder for example, a worker can experience severe head, spinal cord and musculoskeletal injuries. A fall from greater heights, as from a high-rise building, is almost always deadly.
No worker should ever fall at a worksite that follows OSHA fall prevention guidelines which include guardrails, safety nets and fall arrest systems. However, thousands of workers are injured because of fall hazards such as:
- Unprotected roofs and open floors that are under construction
- Improperly constructed scaffolding
- Unstable or broken portable ladders
- Insufficient fall protection devices and training
- Open holes, skylights or lose boarding on elevated surfaces
- Tools and materials that obstruct walkways
Slip and Fall Hazards
Construction sites generally contain numerous slip and fall hazards. Spilled oils and cleaning fluids are dangerous in any location, but on a construction site with the added risk of a fall from height, these mishandled materials could create a fatal condition. Likewise, ice makes any surface slippery and dangerous, but even more so at many stories above the ground.
New York Scaffolding Law
In most job-related injury cases, the workers’ compensation laws prohibit the worker from suing his employer. In return for this restriction, the worker receives immediate medical care and can recover lost wages, medical and short-term disability benefits through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
The New York Scaffolding Law makes an exception for construction workers who have fallen on the job site. Unlike other types of workplace injuries, you have the right to sue your employer and the owner of the property to recover damages for your injuries. This statute, which is unique to New York, imposes absolute liability on contractors and landowners, which generally persuades them to maintain safer working conditions.
Learn About Your Options After a Construction Fall
You may have several options for recovery of damages and benefits after a construction site slip, trip or fall. Schedule a free consultation with the disability lawyers at Turley Redmond & Rosasco to learn more and to begin pursuing your rights.