Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

An Attorney on the Best Ideas to Avoid Falls on Construction Sites

Pennsylvania workers' compensationThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently published a fact sheet regarding construction falls. There are, on average, falls in the construction industry that result in 310 deaths and 10,350 serious injuries each year across the United States.

Rooftop falls

In 2016, there were 124 fatal falls from rooftops. Roughly 81 percent of fatal falls from roofs occur within the construction industry. NIOSH attributes falls from roofs to:

  • Inexperience and/or inadequate training
  • No fall protection program in place
  • Poor fall arrest anchorage
  • Lack of lanyard connection point
  • Incorrect length of lifeline
  • Working alone or during inclement weather

Rooftop falls can be prevented by ensuring that a fall protection program is in place and that workers are equipped with and know how to use fall protection gear. In addition, fall protection equipment should be fully inspected, the correct anchorage should be used for fall systems, and ladder side rails should extend three feet above the roof edge.

Workers should also avoid working alone or during rainy, snowy, or windy conditions.

Falls from ladders

Approximately 104 construction deaths in 2016 were caused by falls from ladders. On average, 57 percent of fatal falls from ladders occur within the construction industry. The leading causes include:

  • Inexperience and/or inadequate training
  • Improper use or selection of a ladder
  • Loading too much weight on a ladder
  • Ladder set on an uneven surface or improper angle
  • Ladder not extended above the roof line
  • Lack of safe access

Falls from ladders can be prevented by ensuring that workers are properly trained, the proper ladder is used for a job, and that the ladder is inspected before being used. Ladders should be level and properly secured with three feet of the side rails extended above the roof edge.

Workers should always face a ladder when climbing, maintain three points of contact, and avoid loading excess weight.

Falls from scaffolds

Approximately 60 construction workers were killed in falls from scaffolds in 2016 in the U.S. About 86 percent of fatal falls from scaffolds occur within the construction industry. The most common factors include:

  • Lack of a fall protection program and/or fall arrest system
  • Inexperience and/or inadequate training
  • Lack fall hazard training
  • Unstable work surfaces
  • Improper use of a scaffold
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Wheels unlocked prior to mounting work platform
  • Working alone from heights during off-hours

In order to prevent falls from scaffolds, the setup should always be inspected and closely supervised. Setups should be well-grounded and stable and follow the guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Scaffold components should include guardrails, fall arrest systems, and proper and safe access.

Injured in a construction fall? Speak to an experienced workers' comp attorney

After surviving a construction fall, you may have sustained serious, debilitating injuries that could require months of recovery. That's why it's critical that you speak to an experienced Scranton workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible.

Navigating the process of filing a worker's compensation claim and ensuring that all paperwork is filled out correctly can be a complex task. The legal team at O'Malley & Langan Law Offices will guide you through the process and negotiate for a fair settlement. Contact us today to learn more.

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