Construction-Related Fall Injuries
If you work in the construction industry, you are probably aware of the acute dangers of falling from high heights. Falls are the foremost cause of deaths in the construction industry and lead to countless more preventable injuries on the job. Around 300 workers die each year from fatal falls, and the trend is on the rise. If you are concerned your workplace is practicing unsafe working conditions and that a preventable injury might occur on the job, a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney might be able to answer your questions and tell you if you are eligible to collect workers’ compensation.
One common source of falls is due to unprotected sides and wall openings. These gaps are common during construction projects, but they can be protected against. Employers can help protect employees by installing guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems wherever employees are exposed to a fall of 6 or more feet. They should ensure that new holes are covered or guarded as soon as they are created, and that covers are able to support two times the weight of employees or equipment that are likely to come across it at any one time. In general, employers should try to use fall prevention systems, such as guardrails, rather than fall protection systems, which are not as reliable.
Another common source of danger on the construction site is due to exposed steel reinforcing bars pointing upward. Even stumbling into one at ground level can cause impaling, resulting in painful injuries and possibly death. Employers should make sure to guard all protruding rebar ends with rebar caps or wooden troughs, or they should bend rebars such that they are no longer pointed upright. Not all rebar caps are sufficient, however. Steel-reinforced rebar caps are recommended, as opposed to caps susceptible to penetration from a strong enough fall, that breaks through the cap and still impales the falling object (or worker). Another method is to secure a 2×4 on top of the row of exposed rebar.
If you have further questions about whether your workplace is safe and compliant with local workplace regulations, contact New Jersey Construction Fall Attorney NJ workers’ compensation attorney Dan Matrafajlo for a free consultation.