Construction workers frequently must perform jobs on scaffolding, roofs, ladders, bridges, and other materials that have them many feet from ground level. When a fall from heights occurs, construction workers frequently suffer life-threatening and deadly injuries. The importance of safety measures to prevent falls from heights became apparent in a recent New York construction accident where a worker fell from a bridge to his death. According to a report from ABC 7, a construction worker fell from the Roosevelt Avenue Bridge onto the Van Wyck Expressway below and was struck by a vehicle. The construction worker was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries.
What do you need to know about construction accidents and falls from heights? Consider some of the following information from our New York construction accident lawyers.
Falls From Heights Can Be Prevented
Falls from heights are often severe, and many are fatal. Yet one of the most critical things to know is that these falls are nearly always avoidable with proper safety protocols. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is a wide range of fall protection systems that should be employed at construction sites depending on the specific fall hazard. There are conventional fall protection systems that include guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems. At the same time, there are positioning device systems, warning line systems, controlled access zones, and safety monitoring systems. It is essential for construction site owners and employers to determine which fall protection system is best suited to the construction activity or hazard.
OSHA cites the following as common construction activities in which falls from heights can occur:
Working on leading edges;
Performing overhand bricklaying;
Doing roofing work;
Residential construction work;
Tasks in hoist areas;
Working near holes;
Construction work on ramps and runways;
Using dangerous and heavy equipment; and
Working on or near wall openings.
Construction Workers May Be Able to Sue Employers for Negligence
Construction workers who are injured or killed in falls from heights can usually obtain workers’ compensation benefits (or their survivors can). At the same time, all construction workers and their families should know that it may be possible to sue their employers for negligence under New York Labor Law.
Sections 200, 240, and 241 of New York Labor Law allow construction workers to file negligence claims against their employers for injuries on the job. Section 240 is often used in claims involving falls from heights since it is known colloquially as the “scaffolding law.”
Contact a New York Construction Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a construction accident, or if you lost a loved one in a construction accident, you could be eligible to seek compensation through a workers’ compensation claim and through a lawsuit. To learn more about filing a negligence claim against a construction industry employer under New York Labor Law, you should get in touch with one of the experienced New York construction accident attorneys at our firm as soon as possible. Contact Leitner Varughese, PLLC, today for more information.