Anyone who works in the construction industry knows that it is a dangerous occupation and fall hazards are everywhere. Construction workers have to deal with some of the most hazardous conditions of any industry. In spite of federal and New York work safety regulations, accidents still happen every day. Some of those accidents are fatal, and others cause catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury or damage to the spinal cord.
Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry and a leading cause of serious non-fatal injuries as well. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has embarked on a campaign to raise awareness of the hazards of falling from roofs, ladders, scaffolds, and other high elevations. According to OSHA, working at a height of 6 feet or more puts workers at greater risk of injury or death in a fall.
As stated in an OSHA publication:
In the year 2012, 75 occupational fatalities were reported in New York City, 21 of which were caused by slips, trips, and falls, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Of all the occupational categories, construction and mining had the highest number of on-the-job fatalities – 25 – and slips, trips, and falls accounted for 13 of those deaths.
As reported by the BLS, the 2012 fatal occupational fall incidents in New York City break down as follows:
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) of the University of Alabama at Birmingham reports facts and figures about spinal cord injuries, updated as of 2013:
Construction accidents are, unfortunately, all too common, and a large proportion of the injuries involve falls. Many types of injury can occur from falls, and among the most devastating are spinal cord injuries.
Injury to the spinal cord may be complete or incomplete. With incomplete spinal cord injury, the victim retains some movement and sensation below the injury. With complete spinal cord injury, there is paralysis below the injury, leaving the victim paraplegic or quadriplegic for life. In addition to the personal trauma, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life, the monetary cost of a spinal cord injury can be astronomical, as seen in the NSCISC statistics above.
If you have suffered a spinal injury from a fall or any other serious construction site accident injury, help is available to pursue the relief you need. At Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in all types of construction accidents and New York labor law. Our legal team can evaluate your case and help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve.