One of the top causes of construction site fatalities is fall accidents. According to OSHA, more than 200 construction workers are killed each year in the U.S., and over 10,000 workers are seriously injured by falls.
There are many different types of fall accidents that occur at construction sites:
This article will address workers falling through floor/ladderway floor openings.
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Pursuant to OSHA regulations, such floor openings must be guarded so that workers cannot fall in the holes when walking. Below are the relevant regulations for ladderway floor openings and floor openings:
Every ladderway floor opening or platform shall be guarded by a standard railing with standard toeboard on all exposed sides (except at entrance to opening), with the passage through the railing either provided with a swinging gate or so offset that a person cannot walk directly into the opening.
Every stairway floor opening shall be guarded by a standard railing constructed in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section. The railing shall be provided on all exposed sides (except at entrance to stairway). For infrequently used stairways where traffic across the opening prevents the use of fixed standard railing (as when located in aisle spaces, etc.), the guard shall consist of a hinged floor opening cover of standard strength and construction and removable standard railings on all exposed sides (except at entrance to stairway).
A standard railing shall consist of top rail, intermediate rail, and posts, and shall have a vertical height of 42 inches nominal from upper surface of top rail to floor, platform, runway, or ramp level. The top rail shall be smooth-surfaced throughout the length of the railing. The intermediate rail shall be approximately halfway between the top rail and the floor, platform, runway, or ramp. The ends of the rails shall not overhang the terminal posts except where such overhang does not constitute a projection hazard.
For all floor openings, railings must be constructed. This is crucial because railings prevent workers from walking in and falling through the openings. When railings are erected, they are clearly visible. Even if a worker walks toward the opening, he is unlikely to fall through the opening because of the railing.
Employers must abide by OSHA regulations to ensure workers’ safety.
If you or a loved one was injured in a fall accident at a construction site, you have legal rights. In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may have a personal injury lawsuit against other parties. Depending on the facts of the accident, you may also have a case against the employer. Call Daniel J. O’Brien for a FREE case evaluation. 877.944.8396