Falls from Heights
With the recent revitalized economy in New Jersey comes the welcome sound of jackhammers; New Jersey’s construction industry is back in business. New developments are popping up all over, and and the NJ Turnpike is dotted by construction sites. With NJ’s per capita population being the highest in the United States, it’s no wonder that many companies are building up, instead of out.
However, scaffolding, ladders and stairs can spell disaster when safety measures are not properly implemented and maintained. Construction workers, occupied on the job, can make one wrong step and fall – causing possibly lifelong injuries.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured after taking a fall on a construction site because of missing precautions or broken safety rules, or for any other reason, you may be able to collect compensation for your medical bills and lost pay as a result of your accident. Call the South Jersey lawyers at Graziano & Flynn, P.C. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of many people injured on construction sites. We will fight on your behalf to make sure you get every dollar you deserve.Unfortunately, Construction Site Falls Are all too Common
The construction industry is, figuratively, the foundation of the American economy. However, dangerous conditions put workers and passersby at risk all the time. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that more than 50 percent of the people who died in the U.S. from a fall worked in construction. Further, more than 15 percent of all occupational deaths are falls.Safety Equipment on Construction Sites Must Be Maintained
OSHA leaves nothing ambiguous when it comes to safety protection measures that must be adhered to on NJ construction sites. Any work conditions six feet or more above a lower level require the use of fall protection. In this case, “any” is defined as:
- Unprotected sides and edges
- Leading edges
- Elevated work platforms
- Walking/working surfaces
Guardrails must be maintained when working on any construction site six feet or higher off the ground. If the guardrails are damaged, management must repair them immediately. If any or part of the railing is missing, it must be replaced right away. Failure to maintain guardrails and protect construction workers in this manner may be negligence.
It should also be noted that sometimes the safety equipment that is in place is, in itself, defective. This may also be a product liability action.Scaffolding Safety Measures Must Be in Place
It may seem obvious that using scaffolding requires certain safety measures, but in an effort to cut corners and get the job done quicker and cheaper, scaffolds are often erected without taking proper precautions to make sure those who will work on them will be safe.
- Proper construction is paramount
- Platforms must be properly and fully planked
- Never stack anything on top of a scaffold for extra height, including ladders, bricks, or other construction items
- There must be a safe way to access the scaffold and get down safely, as well
There are ladders that are built right into the scaffolds or designed specifically for use with scaffolds. Never use a ladder that hasn’t been approved for use with scaffolds and make sure the approved ladder is secured well to the scaffold.Other Construction Site Heights to Secure for the Safety of Workers
There are several places where falls can occur on a construction site – both inside the building or structure and outside. In order to protect you:
- Stairs must have handrails along unprotected sides. (Staircases with two walls must also be equipped with at least one handrail on the right side).
- All ladders must be inspected prior to use and kept in good working condition.
- Workers should be fully trained before using any powered work platforms, such as man-baskets on a forklift, aerial lifts or scissor lifts. Make sure fall protection is in place.
- Shafts and other openings must be protected.
Construction workers have a right to be safe at work. That means all raised areas and other fall hazard areas on the site must be properly protected and safety equipment must be in good, working condition and in place at all times. If you have been injured after falling on a construction site, you will likely suffer significant injuries that may even put you out of work for an extended period of time, maybe even permanently.
Email or call the experienced construction injury attorneys at Graziano & Flynn for a free, initial consultation. We will discuss your case and determine the best way to get you compensated for your pain and suffering, medical bills and any lost wages. We will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries.