"Construction worker falls to his death." If you think you've heard this news or seen this headline over and over again, you're right.
Falls to a lower level are a leading cause of death for construction workers, which accounted for 401 out of 1102 construction fatalities in 2019, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data - an increase of 24 percent from 2018. Meanwhile, a total of 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019 - in other words, one in five worker deaths were in construction.
If you and your family have lost a loved one in a construction accident, first and foremost, our condolences are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Losing a loved one in a construction accident is the last thing anyone should have to go through. Construction worker family members also suffer when their loved ones are killed or injured while working on a project site. Second, if you want to understand what killed your loved one and how a fatal construction accident attorney can help, we can answer your questions.
Roof Fall and The Problem of Fall Protection
Construction workers are dying at an alarming rate, and the families of these men and women deserve justice. This tragic death toll is highest among Latino, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American workers who often work for less pay without benefits or proper safety equipment.
In 2020, there were 7,014 violations of the fall protection general requirements, according to OSHA.
Construction work can be hazardous due to accidents such as falls from heights or due to other safety violations while on building sites. Employers are tasked with the responsibility to adhere to building codes and standards and protect workers from falls. This is done by carefully planning jobs and providing fall protection equipment like harnesses that allow them a safe return when higher than six feet above lower levels.
For those who have lost their loved ones because of these types of incidents, they may feel like there's nowhere to turn for help - but we're here to tell you how you can get justice and closure for your family member's death.
Besides falls to a lower level, these are the topmost frequently cited OSHA standards violated in 2020 in the construction industry:
Scaffolding Safety Violations
OSHA cited 3,228 scaffolding violations in 2020.
Construction sites across the nation utilize scaffolding structures to help workers access buildings when they are being built. In many cases, construction accidents are caused by workers falling from scaffolding on active job sites. When construction workers are not adequately constructing scaffolding or the scaffold is erected incorrectly, it can cause injury or death.
Scaffolding safety plays a crucial role in fall prevention. The OSHA scaffolds standard requires that they support the weight of the component itself and at least four times the maximum intended load.
Common causes of scaffolding accidents include:
- Plank or flooring collapse
- Slips and falls
- Defective scaffold setups
Scaffold inspections are an essential part of staying safe on construction sites because they help keep workers from falling into dangerous situations. It's important to remember that guardrails and a fall arrest system are essential for work 10 feet or more above lower levels.
Scaffolding injury cases can be tricky to prove. The case below will hopefully give you some insight into these situations.
When a mason fell 20 feet from scaffolding at the construction site, his family's life was changed forever. Tragically, the worker died from their injuries. However, the family had an attorney who knew how to deal with these cases and got their loved one the settlement he deserved. The lawyer in this case was able to establish that both the general contractor and architects for a construction project had been negligent by failing to provide fall protection.
Ladder Safety Violations
OSHA cited 2,766 ladders violations in 2020.
Ladder fall injuries are so common that they happen in every setting imaginable. Construction workers are at risk of falls and severe injuries. The worst injuries a worker can sustain from a fall are severe and permanent. The injuries from a ladder accident are not always self-inflicted, either; many accidents are unavoidable no matter how careful the worker may be.
Experts say that inexperience with handling such large objects combined with inadequate safety training leads to accidents.
Workers should be trained on the OSHA ladders standard, and best practices include:
- Making sure to choose the right ladder
- Positioning it in a safe way
- Making sure they are secured by three points of contact with the ladder at all times
A recent wrongful death claim involved a man descending from a height while installing a vent fan and then falling to the ground level below. He, unfortunately, died later from his injuries. The defendant was accused of a series of safety violations against the construction worker, including unsafe working conditions, lack of training, and providing him with a defective ladder.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a Construction Accident? Get Legal Help Now in Florida
The Miami construction accident attorney at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary has years of experience litigating construction accident cases on behalf of our clients and their families.
Call us for a free consultation with a construction site accident lawyer who has successfully secured jury verdicts against construction companies and building owners.
Your family deserves justice. And we can help you get it in the form of financial compensation.
Our initial consultation is free, and we are not paid anything unless you get a jury award or settlement for your loved one's injuries.