As a construction worker, you know the hazards that you face every day and how quickly a situation can turn dangerous on the job, especially when you’re working at height. One moment everything feels secure, but then the wind blows the wrong way or you lose your footing. Fall hazards are a given at most worksites and you may be exposed to these hazards on a daily basis. Before you go on a job, it’s important to know what the risks are and what prevention measures should be in place to keep you safe.
What’s the risk?
More than 100,000 workers are injured because of falls at construction sites every year and 48% of all fatal falls in private industry involve construction workers. Any exposure condition at a site that might cause you to lose your balance and result in a fall is known as a “fall hazard.” You are deemed to be at risk for a fall hazard any time you work at a height of four feet or more. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires fall protection for employees working at a height of four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime, and six feet in construction. However, even if you are working at a lower height than that, fall protection must be provided if you are working over any dangerous equipment or machinery.
Protection is required
On a construction site, protection is required for workers who are exposed to vertical drops of six feet or more. The three methods of protection that are most accepted are:
- Guardrails, which prevent the employee from falling in the first place;
- Safety nets, which catch the employee if a fall does occur;
- And a personal fall arrest system, which is made up of an anchorage, connectors, and a harness that work together to break a fall.
Employers must also ensure proper scaffold construction, safe ladders, and equipment maintenance and inspection.
Who is responsible if I fall?
Injuries from a fall at a construction site can be life changing. If you have been affected by a fall while on the job, contact Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. Our lawyers are experienced in fall hazard cases and we have a long history of serving the organized labor community. We have departments of experienced attorneys in Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Social Security Disability, and Labor Law. Lipsitz Green understands the requirements and rights associated with fall hazards and will be able to determine the liability of your employer.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.