Philadelphia Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Review Preventing Workplace Falls July 16, 2015
Workers at construction sites face the possibility of workplace falls from poorly guarded work hazards, like holes in the floor and unguarded edges.
On sites with multiple contractors, not every worker may be aware of hazards on the work site. Since work sites are subdivided into many different subcontractors, workers may not be aware of newly created hazards.
In one instance, a plumber fell through a hole installed by other contractors while building a residential building. Another contractor had made the hole for the installation of pull down stairs without covering the opening. The plumber, in an attic with poor lighting, was unaware of the hole and fell through. The plumber suffered injuries to their back, neck, and possible brain damage from the fall.
In another example, a worker fell into an opening on a balcony that lacked any safety barriers. The worker had been unrolling roofing underlayment on the balcony for another worker to install on the roof. The worker fell 14 feet onto a pile of construction debris. No warnings or barriers had been set up to prevent falls.
Poor communication of safety hazards by contractors is often a part of the reason these falls occur. Not every subcontractor may be aware of newly created hazards in the construction process. In the case of the plumber, the worker had not been to the site before.
OSHA regulations require safety systems to be installed around an opening six feet or more above a lower level. Edges should also have these systems in place. Employers are required to set up guard rail systems, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems. By not installing safeguards and notifying workers of hazards, contractors are risking workers’ health and lives. The practice of having many different subcontractors working on the same site increases the risk as well.
Contractors and subcontractors should alert all workers present on the site of hazards. Installing guard rails or other safety systems on edges or covering openings should be done before any other work is done nearby.
For more information on workplace accidents, call Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger at 800-222-8792 or contact us online.