As the leading cause of construction worker deaths in the United States, falls on the project site claim the lives of more than 310 workers every year while seriously injuring an additional 10,350. Employees working at heights, such as on a roof, ladder, or scaffold, are at risk of serious injury or death from falling. In 2016, falls from roofs took the lives of 124 workers, while falls from ladders and scaffolds accounted for another 104 and 60 deaths respectively. Clearly, fall prevention is at the center of the worker safety discussion, but attempts to mitigate falls entirely have been fruitless up to this point.
In this brief article, the Central FL contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law will discuss the factors that commonly result in falls on the project site. For assistance with cases involving workplace injuries or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations, consult an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the ins and outs of the construction industry and has the tools necessary to protect your business.
Why Do Workers Fall From Roofs?
There are a multitude of reasons why falls occur on the project site, and falls from roofs stake their claim as the most dangerous by accounting for 81 percent of deaths in the construction industry. Worker inexperience and a lack of training are two common reason why workers fall from roofs. Simply put, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you have no business working on a roof. Unfortunately, in the rush to meet deadlines, some contractors allow workers to perform tasks at heights they aren’t prepared for. This can quickly lead to an injurious or even fatal fall.
Other common reasons include failing to implement a fall protection program, working without personal fall protection or a personal fall arrest system, and utilizing an incorrect anchorage method. Working alone or working during inclement weather can also lead to a fall.
Why Do Workers Fall From Ladders?
Over half of all ladder-related deaths in the United States can be traced back to the construction industry. Similar to roof-related falls, ladder-related falls are often the result of worker inexperience, poor training, improper ladder selection, incorrect ladder usage, and ladder overloading. In fact, ignoring some of the warnings posted in plain sight on every ladder leads to the majority of ladder-related falls. Other factors include failing to establish a strong base on a flat, level surface, posting the ladder below the roof line, and a lack of safe access.
Why Do Workers Fall From Scaffolds?
Unlike ladders, which have applications both in and out of the construction industry, scaffolds are typically reserved for the project site. This explains why 86 percent of scaffold-related deaths occur in the construction industry. Some factors that commonly lead to scaffold falls include:
- No fall protection program
- Inexperienced or untrained workers
- No fall protection or fall arrest system
- Unsteady work surface
- Faulty scaffold construction or use
- Improper guardrail usage
- Unlocked scaffold wheels
- Working alone
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.