Construction workers suffer from some of the highest injury rates within the domestic workforce. According to a report from the United States Department of Labor, “one in five worker deaths . . . [are] in construction.” In 2017, 971 construction workers were killed or fatally injured while on the job. What was the leading cause of these fatalities? According to the Department of Labor, almost 40 percent of worker deaths resulted from serious falls.
Factors contributing to fall deaths
Several factors may be linked to the high number of fall deaths among construction workers, including the unsafe use of ladders. In a publication from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), researchers stated that “ladders are [a] major [source] of injuries and fatalities among construction workers . . . many of [these] injuries are serious enough to require time off the job.”
For any worker, taking time off work to receive medical treatment can have devastating financial consequences — especially if that treatment is long-term. If you work in construction, you can reduce your risk of falling by following a few important safety tips:
Ladder safety tips
- Ensure that the ladder you are using is well-maintained and has no defects or weak points.
- Place the base of the ladder on a strong, level surface
- Wear slip-resistant shoes
- Clean and maintain the soles of your shoes to maximize traction
- Use towlines, a tool belt, or an assistant to carry your tools while climbing
- If you are standing on a ladder, do not under any circumstances try to move it
- Do not overextend, overreach, or lean away from a ladder while you are on it, as you could lose your center of balance and risk falling off
- Follow the “Three Point-of-Contact Climb” rule, where you always maintain at least three points of contact with your limbs to the ladder while climbing.
Contact a New York Falling Hazard Attorney
Employers are responsible to their workers for maintaining a safe, hazard-free working environment. If you were hurt in a ladder injury due to inadequate training, safety, supervision, or another reason, contact the New York construction accident lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and your legal options.