Falls from Heights – A Major Hazard in the Construction Industry

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Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss construction falls and what can be done to prevent them. Earlier in the summer of 2018, a construction worker fell off the roof of a six-story building in downtown Baltimore. The 19-year-old worker attempted to prevent a large cart from rolling off the roof, but the weight and momentum of the cart ended up pushing him from the roof of the storage building at Pleasant and Guilford streets.

His tragic death was ruled an accident, but construction workers across the country are at risk for similar types of falls from ladders, scaffolding, and other dangerous heights.

Falls from heights (FFH) are one of the leading causes of serious and fatal injuries among construction workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), out of the 991 total construction fatalities that occurred in 2016, 370 were caused by falls from heights.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) joined forces with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to develop the Fall Prevention Campaign, which brings attention to some of the common fall hazards in the construction industry, and how they can be prevented.

Three Steps to Preventing Fatal Falls

Plan: Proper planning is critical to making sure that a job is done safely. This involves determining exactly how the job should get done, the specific tasks involved, and the appropriate safety equipment needed to safely complete each task.

Planning also includes coming up with a budget for each job. Employers must estimate the cost of safety equipment needed, and the tools required to complete the job. Proper planning involves anticipating potential hazards that are associated with a project and ensuring that employees have the proper fall protection.

Provide: When a construction worker is on a roof, scaffolding, or other elevation platform that is six feet or more above a lower level, he or she is at risk for serious fall-related injuries. Employers must provide the proper fall protection based on the specific job.

For example, roof workers should be provided with personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) that fit properly and that have been inspected for safety.

Train: Employers must provide the appropriate training for each worker based on the specific project. Training should address proper set-up and use of all equipment being used, and how to recognize potential hazards on the job.

Fortunately, many of the tragic falls that occur in the construction industry are preventable, if workers and employers take the necessary steps to avoid hazards and make safety a top priority.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Falls from Heights

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a fall-related accident at work, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. Falls from heights can result in serious, often fatal injuries. Our team of experienced, dedicated lawyers will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve based on the injuries you sustained. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.