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Look Out Below: Risks for construction workers

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2019 | Firm News |

If you work in the construction industry, you already know that you are in one of the most dangerous occupations. You could experience crush injuries, herniated discs, rotator cuff tears and falls.  Yes, all of these are serious injuries.  Of all of them, the most dangerous risk you face is falling from a significant height

Our client, Matt, was putting on a new roof.  After pounding down a new shingle, he stood up to move.  His left foot caught on another shingle.  He lost his balance and fell 20 feet to the ground.  He landed on his feet, but broke his fall with his left arm extended. He suffered multiple fractures in his legs and his left arm.  He was not wearing any safety gear.


It is the responsibility of your employer to provide you with all necessary and legally required protection equipment you need to prevent a fall.  Obtaining proper equipment is affordable and accessible.  There is no excuse to let a worker go on a construction site without adequate safety equipment.

However, providing the right gear is only step one.   You also need the proper training on how to use the safety gear.


Serious, sometime fatal, accidents happen on a construction site because a worker has either not had any training or has not been given adequate training.


Even if your employer provides you with safety equipment training, do you know if you are getting the right training or enough training?  According to the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program, recently hired construction workers are at higher risk.  More than 50% of falls on a construction site, result from not having the right safety equipment.  And, ominously, the data indicates that approximately one in five people who die from falls have only been on the job for a couple of months.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes that the construction industry does not give fall protection enough attention. In addition to providing the proper equipment and training, OSHA says that employers need to consider the uniqueness of a job site. Not all job sites are created equal. Fall arrest systems, safety gear, edge protection, and scaffolds all need to conform to the specific work site.


OSHA also warns that most construction workers are not aware of the danger.   Workers underestimate the impact of a fall.  A fall from as little as six feet can cause death. A fall from around 30 feet is more often than not, fatal.  And, even if you survive a fall, you could suffer a traumatic brain injury, or a spinal cord injury, both of which could leave you permanently disabled.


Even less serious injuries, some like Matt suffered including:

  • Mild to moderate concussions
  • Foot, ankle, leg fractures
  • Dislocated Shoulder
  • Multiple body fractures
  • Puncture Wounds

These can render you unable to work for an extended amount of time.


Falling may not be the most common injury construction workers suffer, but it is often the one that causes the most severe injuries. The odds of dying or suffering permanent injury are what make this a primary safety concern for the construction industry.


Fortunately, Pennsylvania provides Workers Compensation coverage for injured workers.  And, the attorneys at the law firm of QuatriniRafferty, know how to obtain all of the benefits you deserve. We handle construction injuries every day, all day.  If you, or someone you know, has suffered a fall injury or any other work site injury, call us at 888-534-6016, for a free legal consultation.  We answer 24/7.