The recent tragic story of a construction worker at an elementary school site in Queens, who plummeted to his death from five stories up, highlights just one of the many dangers on construction sites today.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls account for a third of all deaths on construction sites, making them the number one construction site killer in the US today. In 2012, the latest year for which statistics are currently available, the number of construction site deaths across the US was 806, with 290 from slip and fall accidents.
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It’s not only the person who falls who suffers injuries or death either; a colleague of the aforementioned deceased construction worker was also seriously injured after debris from the incident caused him to fall four stories down an elevator shaft.
So what is to blame for all these tragedies? In most cases, workers fall through incomplete windows, holes in unfinished floors, off roofs, and from scaffolding and ladders. Simply erecting a sign stating that there is a hole or an opening could save many lives, as could a guard rail put up in front of an open window frame. Scaffolding should always be properly erected, and workers should ensure that their ladders are placed safely on a level surface, and appropriately secured.
In New York, construction site owners are required by law to maintain safe working conditions for their employees; correct safety procedures and safe environments can help to minimise the chance off incidents; however, through no fault of the owners or the workers, accidents may nevertheless still happen.
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Federal law states that for heights greater than six feet, fall restraint equipment must be used. Safety procedures must be adhered to, e.g. instructions for attaching safety harnesses should be clearly displayed and employees should be trained in their use. Harnesses should be free of wear and tear, and guard rails should be placed around the edge of roofs and floors. Safety nets are recommended as an extra level of protection. Unfortunately, however, not all site owners follow the law, and not all employees pay as much attention to care and their own safety as they could.
Although workers’ compensation covers injuries which are sustained while on the job, it does not cover every scenario, and so it is essential to speak to a personal injury lawyer in order to determine what recourse you have open to you, and what is the best course of action.
If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident in New York City, it’s imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Call us today on 212-221-5999 for a free, no-obligation consultation, and our expert slip and fall lawyers at Antin, Ehrlich, and Epstein LLPwill determine the best course of action for you . Alternatively, you can email us with your query.