The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) lists four top causes of construction hazards. Referred to as the fatal four, they include falls, struck-by, caught-in, and electrocutions. Out of those four, the most common accident in construction is when a worker falls. Fall accidents typically occur when workers are not using proper protective equipment, perimeter protection, scaffolds or ladders safely, or covering up or securing floor openings. OSHA’s data further indicates that, out of the fatal four, falls accounted for 338 of the total construction fatalities during 2018.
Why Falling Is the Most Common Accident in Construction
When workers have to work in high places, including chimney masons, roofers, or other tradespeople, they have a dangerous job. Falls can even occur due to unkempt workspaces.
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) reported that falls are the most common accident in construction, leading to fatalities. Their data indicates that, over the past decade, there were 218 fall fatalities, and 101 of those were in New York City.
Many causes lead to a construction worker experiencing a fall. Some of those reasons include:
- Faulty construction equipment
- Faulty or damaged ladders
- Dangerous scaffolding
- Not using safety equipment for fall prevention
- Tripping hazards and unsecured open floors
Falling and the Use of Fall Protection
It is not uncommon for some construction workers to disregard instructions and the use of fall prevention gear, including harnesses. Some contractors believe that using such protective devices could create new issues or that it is too expensive. Data from OSHA reveals that, as of 2018, a lack of fall protection in construction is the top most-cited standard.
Due to the increase in fall-related deaths, OSHA created a series of fall protection guidelines for all construction job sites. Despite these regulations, fall accidents are still the most common accident in construction. That means that general contractors and their workers must be vigilant regarding safety and using preventative measures.
Let a Lawyer Help You Recover the Compensation You Need
When a worker experiences a fall-related injury, that could include issues requiring long-term medical care. Some examples of these injuries include broken or fractured bones, chronic back issues, and head trauma. After experiencing a fall from significant heights, it is not uncommon for construction workers to feel anxiety or have a fear of heights that require treatment. There are also instances where fall-related fatalities occur. In these cases, the victim’s families are left to put the pieces back together after such an emotional and financial loss.
We learn from New York Consolidated Labor Laws §200 that general contractors have a legal obligation regarding the protection of all workers on their job sites. Under this law, the general contractor, as well as property owners, must ensure that safety measures are in place on all construction sites. That includes making sure that all workers receive protection for their safety.
Workers who experience an injury from the most common accident in construction can seek help from our firm. We ensure that all victims receive the damages they need and deserve. You can count on our legal team to help you handle all fall-related claims, including those involving:
- Scaffold accidents: New York Labor §240, the Scaffold Law, offers protection for construction workers suffering from elevation or fall-related injuries
- Defective or dangerous equipment: if a fall results from the use of defective or dangerous equipment, victims can pursue damages from the manufacturer or distributor
- Negligence: if the fall is the result of a third party’s negligence, then it might be possible for the victim to pursue damages from that party’s employer
Time Limits for New York Construction Accidents
In the state of New York, victims have three years from the date of the fall accident to file an action. That timeframe starts on the date of the incident, as outlined under New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (CVP) §214. If a wrongful death occurs due to a fall accident, then the victim’s families can find the statute of limitations under New York Estates, Powers & Trusts (EPT) §5-4.1. According to that statute, the victim’s personal representative for their estate has three years to file an action starting from the date of the accident.
New York’s Recoverable Damages for a Construction Accident
Because there are limits to the amount of compensation you can receive from a workers’ compensation claim, it might be possible to recover additional damages from other parties. Examples of these damages include:
- Damages for loss of opportunity
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of wages, both current and future
- Medical expenses, both current and future
- Pain and suffering
Reach Out Today to a New York Construction Accident Lawyer
We understand that falls are the most common accident in construction, and if you are a victim, we are available to help. Our firm’s mission is to work hard on your behalf to recover the damages you need and deserve. Reach out to Morelli Law Firm by calling (212) 751-9800 today for a consultation.