The construction industry sees thousands of injuries and deaths each year and many of them are a result of fall accidents. In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently conducted its third annual National Safety Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. The campaign encouraged employers to stop work for a while and discuss fall prevention strategies with their employees.
The construction industry has a poor record in fall protection. Every year, federal inspectors cite more employers for failure to provide fall protection and safety, compared to any other type of violation. That specific failure by construction employers has terrible consequences for those who do the work. In 2014, as many as 40% of construction-related fatalities were caused in fall accidents and there is no indication this rate has decreased.
The good news for workers and their families is that many of future construction fatalities can be prevented. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put basic guidelines in place that encourage employers to provide fall protection gear, like helmets, safety harnesses and nets, in order to reduce the risk of falls. In addition, workers need to be educated about the risk of falls, especially in certain construction-related operations, like roofing, and painting.
According to the Campaign to Stop Construction Falls, 7% of fall-related fatalities occur from moving vehicles, while falls on floor and ground levels account for 5% of fatalities. However, roofing accidents account for the highest number of fall-related fatalities every year, with a rate of 31% of all fatalities.
Small construction companies seem to be at the highest risk of such fall-related accidents, with 55% of fatal falls involving employees of companies that have less than ten employees. Workers who are working on ladders, need to be extra careful. Ladder-related fall accidents accounted for approximately a quarter of all construction fall-related deaths. Even when a construction fall is not fatal, it can leave a person severely injured or incapacitated, possibly permanently.
Providing workers with adequate safety gear, and the regular education and training of workers on recognizing fall hazards and mitigating the risks involved can go a long way in helping reduce these injuries and fatalities.
The Indiana construction accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in construction accidents all across Indiana.