Fall accidents at construction sites across the country, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey construction sites, are one of the top four causes of fatal accidents in the construction industry. For instance, a worker working on a roof without fall protection may fall and sustain catastrophic injuries, such as broken bones, a permanent brain injury and even death.
The 2 main reasons that falls from heights occur at construction sites in PA and NJ are:
Construction site fall accident case result: Roofer receives $3,300,000 settlement after falling from roof
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that enforces safety and health regulations at a workplace. Pursuant to OSHA regulations, employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace for their workers.
There are extensive OSHA regulations relating to fall protection, and employers must comply with those regulations to prevent employees and workers from falling. Different OSHA fall protection regulations apply to multiple types of industries, and these regulations apply to specific heights. For instance, workers in general industry workplaces must have fall protection if they are working at an elevation of four feet and above; workers in the construction industry must have fall protection if they are working at an elevation of six feet and above.
There are different types of fall protection systems employers can provide for their workers who work from heights:
1. Guardrail systems;
2. Safety net systems;
3. Personal fall arrest systems;
4. Positioning device systems; and/or
5. Warning line systems.
For a detailed discussion of each of these fall protection systems, see Does Your Worksite Comply With OSHA’s Fall Protection Standard?
When employers fail to provide fall protection, fall accidents happen and workers get injured.
OSHA regulations also require employers to provide proper training on fall protection to the workers. Training ensures that workers know how to use fall protection systems in addition to recognizing fall hazards.
This is especially important for workers who are not native English speakers. Employers may provide training, but many do not make sure that all workers understand what is being said during the training.
Workers who fall from heights have legal rights. They are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits because they were injured at the workplace. In addition, they may be able to sue other parties responsible for their fall accidents. PA and NJ workers' comp laws do not allow injured workers to sue their employers if they were injured at work due to the employers' negligence. However, they may sue other parties. For instance, if a worker falls due to a defective personal fall arrest system, the company that made the defective fall arrest system may be responsible. The injured worker may be able to recover financial compensation from the fall arrest system manufacturer by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
FREE consultations from a seasoned workplace/construction site accident personal injury lawyer Daniel J. O'Brien. 877.944.8396