Falls from heights cause injuries across the country and represent the number one cause of occupational fatalities in the construction industry. These could have been prevented with appropriate training and hazard risk identification.
If you or a loved one was injured in a fall on a New York City job site, consult an attorney about your rights. You may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
Most falls on the job site happen because the employer or workers failed to follow appropriate safety protocols. Some of the most common falls from height occur due to:
By far, a lack of access to a personal fall arrest system, often called fall protection, is the biggest cause of falls from heights. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program, of all the workers killed in falls from heights, more than 50% had inadequate fall protection.
Fall protection should include things like harnesses, guardrails, and safety nets. Harnesses fall into the category of a personal fall arrest system. Guardrails have things like scaffolding, scissor lifts, and enclosed work platforms. Safety nets are mesh or wire nets positioned under people who work at great heights.
These safety measures must meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. For example, OSHA regulation 1910.140 mandates that personal fall protection systems should be inspected before initial use and during each work shift. Harnesses should be free from mildew, wear, damage, deterioration, and defects. If they are not, they must immediately be removed from service.
OSHA regulation 1910.29 sets for requirements for fall protection systems, such as guardrail systems. Guardrails should be 42 inches (plus or minus three inches) above the walking surface.
Mid-rails should be installed at a height midway between the top edge of the guardrail and the walking surface. Screens or mesh should extend along the entire opening between top rail supports.
Common OSHA violations include:
In fact, according to OSHA, four of the top 10 serious violations found on construction sites involved fall hazards.
Falls from heights often result in devastating injuries that can affect you for the rest of your life. When a fall happens, the body strikes the ground with significant force. This impact is like a high-speed car crash or other serious accident.
Some common injuries that occur due to falls include:
Even if you are injured on the job, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party.
Negligence is a legal theory indicating that a person or company had a legal duty and failed to uphold that duty. If that negligence results in financial damages, you can get compensation to cover those damages from the at-fault party.
In New York, you typically file a workers’ compensation claim when injured on the job. While workers’ comp will cover all your medical bills, it only pays you a small portion of your lost wages. It doesn’t pay you anything for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
A personal injury lawsuit for your fall can result in compensation for your lost wages, loss of earning ability, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and more.
Some parties other than your employer who may be responsible:
If the City of New York, an employee working for the city, or a government agency, is at fault for your accident, you must file a municipal liability claim. These claims are different than most personal injury claims.
Contact us to learn more about municipal liability claims.
Fall injuries from heights result in permanent injuries that require ongoing medical treatment, and you may be unable to work for a long time. Immediately contact a lawyer at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek P.C. to find out your options to recover your damages.
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