Falls Are Frequent Causes Of Construction Injuries And Deaths
Falling accidents can have a significant effect on the lives of victims and their families. The extent of injuries depends on the height from which the fall takes place and the nature of the surface on which the person lands. There may also be contact during the fall with protruding lumber or reinforcing rods (rebars), which can cause tearing, impalement, amputation or death.
Several factors are involved in falls — including unstable working surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment, and human error. The attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law know how to identify contributing factors as well as the victim’s legal options. If you are injured in a fall from a construction site ladder or scaffolding, we will aggressively fight for you.
Causes Of Construction Ladder Accidents
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that there are 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls on stairways and ladders used in construction. Nearly half of these injuries are serious enough to require time off the job.
Among the causes of construction ladder accidents that have been investigated by OSHA are:
- Failure to use the correct ladder for the task
- Structural defects, such as damaged side rails, broken or missing rungs or steps, and missing or damaged safety devices
- Grease or other contaminants on ladder steps
- Using ladders that are not long enough to safely reach the work area
- Failure to timely remove and repair, or dispose of, defective ladders
- Overloading ladders beyond the manufacturer’s rated capacity
- Failure to count a worker’s materials and tools in the load applied to a ladder
- Using ladders with metallic components near electrical work and overhead power lines
Our lawyers can advise clients whether to bring negligence actions against the construction company that owns the ladder, or the equipment rental company that leased it to them, or to bring a products liability action against the ladder’s manufacturer.
Defective Or Improperly Installed Scaffolding Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries
The greatest risk of using any scaffold is that of falling from it. Falls, and the often-fatal blunt force trauma that accompanies them, occur when a scaffold is:
- Improperly assembled. It sways under load, and causes those on it to lose their balance
- Structurally defective. In danger of collapse due to manufacturing error or poor maintenance
- Improperly secured. Unattached to the structure on which it is being used, and pulls away from it
- Not level at its base. Uneven forces on its structure cause it to warp
- Fitted with worn or defective planks. Planks may break under workers’ weight, causing them to plunge through the open spaces
- Not fitted with fall preventers. These protect workers from stepping off backward
- Improperly proportioned. Unless erected proportionally a scaffold can lack physical stability. OSHA has established safe proportions: a scaffold’s height should not exceed four times its base.
Non-employees, such as independent contractors, machine service technicians and inspectors, may sue the companies on whose construction sites they are injured. However, further actions for negligence may be brought against a scaffolding lessor, manufacturer or seller if they knew, or should have known, that the scaffolding was defective. In addition, wrongful death claims allow a decedent’s family to bring actions on his or her behalf.
Job Sites May Have Risky Flooring With Holes
At some point during the construction process, most work sites have holes in the floor. When a contractor or site visitor falls into one of these openings, serious injury may occur.
Some of the reasons a worker may fall into a hole include:
- Someone may have removed the warning signs or cones around the hole
- Some device, such as a piece of wood, over the hole may have broken or may not be strong enough
- The hole may be obscured because there is something over it
- It may not be possible for the worker to see the hole because of equipment, tools or other materials around the hole
- The warning signs may not be clear
- The site may not have proper railings systems around any holes
- Supervisor negligence
Determining who is responsible depends on the status of the person who was hurt and who had control over the floor where the hole was. It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as a fall through a hole occurs.
We Advocate For Injured Workers And Construction Site Visitors
Construction falls cause serious injuries, permanent disabilities and deaths every year. The attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law have a long record of success protecting the interests of non-employee workers and other business visitors injured by defective or negligently maintained ladders at construction sites.
If you have been injured, or a loved one is injured or killed, let us help. Please call us at 855-444-6651, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Ohio construction accident attorney. We have offices conveniently located in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Lexington.