The Dangers of Falling from Heights on a Worksite
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman safeguard the rights of workers in Seaford, Newark, and Wilmington, DE who are hurt in worksite falls. Contact us today to schedule a fee consultation.
Few jobs pose regular risk of bodily harm than those requiring workers to climb high up to perform their jobs at a dangerous distance from the ground. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) lists falls from heights as the second leading cause of death in the workplace.
Falls from several stories up pose the great risk of fatalities, but even falling just six feet can lead to life-altering injuries. Under federal law, employers are required to provide fall protection to workers in the construction industry who work at any height of six feet or more above or 10 inches below any surface. Landing on the wrong part of your body, a hard surface, or sharp object can have devastating consequences for an employee, such as:
- Traumatic brain and spine injuries
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Loss of eye(s)
- Loss of limbs
Any injury you incur from a fall can mean a life of needing part-time or full-time nursing care. Depending upon your level of disability, you may need to adjust your expectations for where your life was headed pre-injury and explore other avenues for employment, or even alternate living arrangements.
What are the main causes of falls from heights?
Falls can be caused by any number of issues, though negligence and unsafe workspaces are the most common. Examples of that can include:
- Faulty handrails and guardrails
- Defective scaffolding or ladders
- Placing ladders on uneven an uneven floor
- Using faulty or poorly-maintained safety equipment
- Being knocked off-balance by a falling object
- Negligence by a coworker
- Uncovered holes
The outcome of these risk assessments may mandate providing safety measures such as guardrail systems, safety nets, personal fall arrest systems, and other protective clothing and gear.
The only time use of these safety features should be dismissed is if they would create more of a hazard in the work area. This doesn’t mean the employer is off the hook for protecting workers. Construction companies are still required to create a safety plan to protect workers from coming to harm from falls.
Providing fall protection may not be enough
Along with the use of proper equipment, employer education is key to safeguarding employees from falls that can lead to workers’ compensation claims. Assessing conditions around the worksite itself can be just as vital to preventing falls.
- In Hockessin, Delaware a man who was working on a residential foundation repair fell into a trench over one story deep when sealant fumes rose up causing him to lose consciousness and become injured. Someone with experience in overseeing substantial foundation repairs should have reasonably known that sealant could pose a threat to workers and taken proper precautions to protect them.
- Earlier this year, an industrial accident in Millsboro led to a worker’s serious injuries after he fell from a 20-foot height while working to replace a grated walkway during a building renovation. Working that high up requires being secured or a net system being in place to prevent such mishaps.
- A Wilmington laborer fell through a hole to his death in the Delaware River Pier in 2016. In January 2020, his family finally reached a settlement with the New Jersey company that controlled the construction site and ultimately left the large hole unprotected. The company has settled at least three wrongful death suits in recent years due to negligent safety practices on construction sites.
Without the necessary education on industry and safety standards coupled with practical training to address which situations demand certain protocols, employers will put employees in harm’s way. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a work-related fall, the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman will investigate any negligent behavior that may have led to the tragedy and help you hold each responsible party accountable.
You shouldn’t suffer for someone else’s mistake in judgment. Schedule your free case evaluation today with one of our seasoned personal injury attorneys in our Wilmington, Seaford, or Newark, DE office, by calling 302-888-2900, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.