If you follow the Buttafuoco & Associates blog, you’re keenly aware of the dangers of working in the construction industry. In the past, we’ve written about what to do if you get hurt on the job and who may be at fault. Today we’ll tackle preventing the statistically most common cause for construction site injuries: falling to a lower level.
If you have experienced a serious injuries on a construction site, it is a good idea to get in touch with a Northern New Jersey construction accident attorney. The team at Buttafuoco & Associates has handled thousands of construction injuries, and can tell you more about your rights as construction workers during a free consultation.
Must-Know Facts in a Construction Site Accident
According to OSHA, the majority of construction accidents fall into four categories, which OSHA calls the Construction Focus Four:
- Fall to lower level
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has made a concerted effort with outreach and training to prevent construction accident deaths in these areas, but at Buttafuoco & Associates, our construction accident attorneys in Northern New Jersey continue to see more and more of these types of personal injury cases.
According to the February 2021 Data Bulletin from The Center for Construction Research and Training, the categories above made up 64% of construction-related fatalities in the United States in 2019. Additionally, construction fatalities from the “Focus Four” have risen steadily over the last decade from 539 in 2011 to 709 in 2019.
According to the same report, falls accounted for 401 of those fatalities in 2019; this amounts to roughly one third of construction deaths, including all causes, not just the “Focus Four.” By knowing which types of accidents are most likely to cause personal injury on a construction site, you can protect yourself to an extent, but there is no way to prevent every accident.
Common Causes of Falls that Can Cause a Construction Accident
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are several common causes of falls on construction sites. Broadly, they fall into two categories:
- Unsafe Working Conditions: This includes holes in the floor; slippery, cluttered, or otherwise unstable surface areas; and edges unprotected by railing or similar structures.
- Misused Equipment: This includes the misuse of safety gear designed to prevent falls as well as misplaced ladders.
While it’s obvious that cases of hazardous working conditions are on the employer, cases of misused equipment may seem like they’re the employee’s fault. However, it’s always the employer’s responsibility to properly educate and train employees using a language and terminology they understand.
This is one of the many things that falls under an employer’s “duty to warn.” If your employer fails to notify you of a danger you are about to encounter on the job, you may very well have a case. If you find yourself with a serious injury like broken bones or related injuries and believe it is due to your employer’s “failure to warn,” a Northern New Jersey construction accident attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates can help. Our lawyers are available to discuss your situation in detail at 1-800-NOW-HURT.
Fall Prevention: Improving Construction Worker Safety Precautions
Though the details of every construction project may be different, there are several key principles and safety measures that employers can implement prevent many construction-site falls:
- Use guardrails or floor covers on any floor hole in working areas
- Include guardrails on any elevated working area.
- Include guardrails around hazardous materials or machinery, regardless of fall height.
- Properly train employees on ladder placement.
- Provide and properly train employees on fall-safety equipment that may be required, including harnesses, safety lines, fall nets, and handrails.
If your employer has failed to put these safety measures in place and you’re at risk of falling, it is well within your rights to request that they do so. If you have already been injured due to their negligence, an attorney can help you understand your rights. Again, our lawyers at Buttafuoco & Associates have handled a significant number of these cases and believe in fighting for workers rights when their employers fail to protect them from injury.
For more information on preventing falls, we recommend the website for the CDC’s Stop Construction Falls campaign website. There you’ll find extensive training materials and useful infographics for fall prevention in residential and commercial construction.
While we hope that these resources prevent construction falls in the future, we want you to know that the personal injury lawyers Buttafuoco & Associates is here in case an injury happens to you.
Call 1-800-NOW-HURT today for a free consultation with a construction accident lawyer serving Northern New Jersey.