According to OSHA, the most common types of construction accidents resulting in death on site are classified as the “Fatal Four.” These common construction site accidents are: falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and getting caught in or between equipment and machines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says, “Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 468 workers’ lives in America every year.”
In this post, we’ll examine the number-one construction site killer in more detail. By far, the largest risk that construction workers face on the job is the risk of falling.
Falling from Heights
Roofer’s, chimney masons, other tradesmen, and anyone else that has to get up on the roof has a very dangerous job. In an article published by The Wall Street Journal, the problem is quantified:
“Fatality rates among roofers are the highest in the construction trades, rising to 38.7 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2013, from 34.1 per 100,000 in 2011.”
There are a plethora of reasons roofers and other workers fall from rooftops. Hazardous scaffolding equipment, unsafe ladders, or other faulty equipment are most common. Another possible reason for the high mortality rate is a lack of fall prevention safety equipment.
Equipment and instructions for working with a harness or other safety systems that can stop falls are often disregarded. Contractors and employers often say such protection is either too expensive or creates new issues. On the other side of the debate, contractors say that safety systems can and do save lives. OSHA says that fall protection is the number-one of its standards violated each year.
There has been a growing number of construction workers dying from fatal falls in recent years. This has prompted the federal government to step in and require fall protection on all job sites. Even with more government regulations, accidents can happen. Construction workers need to continue to be concerned for their own safety and the safety of others. In Indiana alone, in 2013, 9% of all fatal job accidents were the result of falls, and 21% occurred in industrial places and premises, such as a construction site.
Contact Wilson Kehoe Winingham
Falls on the job can cause serious and life-threatening injuries, including broken bones, chronic back pain, and traumatic head injuries that require ongoing medical attention. Some people that have been injured in a construction fall suffer from a severe fear of heights and other anxiety issues that require treatment. Still others die from their injuries, leaving their families to cope with the loss, both financially and emotionally.
If you have been injured or your loved one was killed in a construction related fall, contact us. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and long-term medical care.