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Construction Site Fall Accidents in Queens

There is a famous 1930s photograph of New York titled "Lunch atop a Skyscraper." This mythical black-and-white image was taken during the construction of the Rockefeller Center in the big city and portrayed 11 construction workers having lunch while sitting on a beam with their feet dangling 260 meters above the ground. 

Historical photo analysts found that the workers in this photo lacked workplace safety measures. That was 1930, the time of the Great Depression. The workers don't have safety gear, so the photo shows the tough working conditions in the US during the Great Depression. People were desperate for work, even if it was dangerous. 

Although almost 100 years have passed since that photograph was taken, and workers' conditions have undoubtedly improved, there are still cases of negligence on the part of construction companies in New York towards their staff.  

Can you imagine what could happen if a worker falls from a height of 200 meters to the ground? Do you think he would live to tell the tale? Most likely not. And whose responsibility would it be?

What would happen to the victim's family? What kind of investigation would be carried out to determine what exactly happened?

Could it have been prevented? Are there laws that defend the worker and his family against these terrible events? These are some of the questions our professionals at The Ward Law Group have sought to answer during all these years of experience. 

Construction fall accidents are among the most dangerous of all. They involve situations where people struggle between life and death due to the strong impact. Even with safety measures, tall heights can still be dangerous. Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but being more careful could have prevented them in some cases. 

Let's explore a little more about these types of construction accidents. Find out why accidents happen and how to stop them. Look at cases where the boss or worker is careless. Talk a bit about the right tools for the job. Share important info so Queens workers know their rights. 

In this way, we contribute to the awareness of these issues and contribute our grain of sand to reduce these events. Join us to learn more about fall accidents on construction sites. 

Construction Site Fall Accident Overview 

Construction sites are among the most dangerous places to work in New York due to the high risk of fall accidents there. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction-related fatalities made up about 20% of all workplace fatalities in 2019, underscoring the urgency of addressing fall accidents on construction sites. 

In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 880 workplace deaths caused by slips, trips, and falls. This data highlights the severity of the issue and its effect on worker safety. Many falls happen in construction. It's important to keep workers safe by taking safety precautions. 

New York Construction Site Safety Regulations 

It is important to consider the regulations that construction companies in New York must follow to promote the prevention of this type of event. In addition, as an employee of one of these companies, knowing about these regulations will help you identify whether or not they are being complied with in your workplace. 

To ensure safe development, the New York City Department of Buildings holds the construction industry responsible for the safety of workers and the general public. These safety precautions are described in Chapter 33 of the NYC Construction Codes. 

There are new safety training requirements, a smoking ban on construction sites, registration with the Department of Contractors for contractors performing specific types of construction, demolition, and concrete work, and uniform color coding for sprinklers and standpipes.  

To ensure the work is done at these sites safely and in compliance with the Code, daily inspections of high—and low-rise construction sites, demolitions, pre-demolitions, excavations, sidewalk sheds, scaffolds of all kinds, and alterations are conducted with the public's welfare at the forefront. 

Here's an overview of specific key safety regulations that apply to New York 

  • The legal obligations of construction site owners, contractors, and employers to provide a safe workplace for employees are outlined in New York Labor Law Sections 200, 240, and 241. The "Scaffold Law," also known as Section 240, focuses on safeguarding workers from gravity-related dangers like falls from heights. 
  • OSHA Standards: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth federal guidelines for construction sites. OSHA's Fall Protection standards mandate proper equipment, such as harnesses and guardrails, when working at heights above six feet. 
  • Guardrails and Fall Arrest Systems: New York's regulations require the installation of guardrails on scaffolds, platforms, and open edges where workers could potentially fall. Fall arrest systems, including lifelines and anchor points, must also be provided to prevent falls and minimize injury severity. 
  • Proper Training: Construction workers must receive adequate instruction on using safety equipment, preventing falls, and handling emergencies. Workers must be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate potential fall hazards, according to employers safely. 
  • Regular Inspections: Regular construction site inspections are essential for spotting and quickly addressing safety hazards. Employers and contractors can conduct routine assessments to identify potential fall risks and take appropriate action to prevent accidents. 
  • Maintenance of Safety Equipment: harnesses, lanyards, and guardrails must be properly maintained and regularly checked for flaws. Equipment that has been damaged should be replaced immediately to avoid breakdowns that could cause fall accidents. 

These rules highlight the significance of fostering a safety culture within the construction sector, where adherence to rules and preventative measures is crucial. Construction sites that strictly adhere to these regulations can significantly lower the likelihood of fall accidents and safeguard the well-being of workers in Queens and throughout New York. 

Common Causes of Fall Accidents at Construction Sites

Although not all common causes can be identified, with more than 30 years of experience in fall accidents on construction sites at The Ward Law Group, we have identified the main ones. 

These can range from negligence on the part of the company in not providing the necessary equipment, not properly assessing whether the weather conditions for the job are appropriate, or an error on the part of the worker in being overconfident and not foreseeing that it was not the right time to perform the activity he or she was engaged in.

It is not always possible to identify an exact cause. Still, it is possible to draw up a map of possible causes, which should be used for prevention work, for talks to workers, and to be aware of the disastrous consequences that such an event could have.

Some of the most common causes we have identified are as follows: 

  • Lack of Adequate Fall Protection: When working at heights, there is a significantly increased risk of accidents if workers are not given the necessary fall protection equipment, such as lifelines and harnesses. 
  • Unsafe Scaffolding: Poorly constructed or unsteady scaffolds contribute to falls. Inadequate guardrails, unstable platforms, and missing planking may result in serious accidents. 
  • Unsecured Ladders: Falls can occur when ladders are improperly secured or installed. Ladder safety and stability should be covered in worker training. 
  • Slippery Surfaces: Construction sites frequently have uneven ground and surfaces vulnerable to becoming slick from bad weather or spilled materials, increasing the risk of a fall. 
  • Lack of Training: Workers not adequately instructed in fall prevention methods and safety procedures are likelier to be involved in mishaps. 
  • Misuse of Equipment: Improperly using harnesses and guardrails can give the impression that you are safe while risking your safety. 
  • Failure to Inspect Equipment: Failure to conduct regular checks on safety equipment, such as lifelines and harnesses, may result in faulty equipment and accidents. 
  • Lack of Warning Signs: Workers may be caught off guard if no warning signs indicate potential fall hazards, such as open holes or uneven surfaces. 
  • Open floor openings without guardrails or proper covers put workers at risk of falling through gaps. 
  • Weather Conditions: Rain, snow, ice, or wind can create hazardous conditions that increase the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls. 

Proactive actions must be taken to address these frequent causes of fall accidents, including implementing stringent safety protocols, thorough training, regular equipment inspections, and ensuring that the appropriate safety gear is worn consistently. Construction sites should acknowledge these risks, take preventive measures to reduce fall accidents and prioritize worker safety. 

Types of Fall Injuries at Construction Sites

Although due to the severity of the accident or the height at which the fall occurred, many times, the consequences can be fatal and result in the death of those involved. There are also cases in which it is possible to survive but with very serious injuries or long-term consequences.

At The Ward Law Group, we have seen almost all types of cases, we have spoken with doctors who specialize in these types of injuries, and we have been able to address a solution for these types of cases comprehensively. Surviving a fall from a construction site is almost a miracle. 

So, we need to assess the potential outcomes, which may not be immediately obvious. Internal bleeding or head injuries can have long-term effects. To evaluate how to prevent each of them, we have grouped the most common causes. 

  • Fractures: Broken bones from falls, such as those in the arms, legs, wrists, and ribs, are common. Simple and complex fractures can result from striking a hard surface from a height. 
  • Even from relatively short falls, head injuries are a serious concern. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions, and contusions can happen and have both short- and long-term effects. 
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Falls may cause spinal cord injuries, which can lead to partial or full paralysis. The severity of these injuries depends on factors such as the height of the fall and the angle of impact. 
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and bruises, can be caused by falls. Even though these wounds might appear less serious, they can still be painful and restrict movement. 
  • Internal Injuries: The impact of a fall can result in internal injuries such as internal bleeding and organ damage. A careful medical evaluation is crucial because these injuries might not be immediately obvious. 
  • Lacerations and Abrasions: Falls can result in cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. While not always serious, these injuries increase the risk of infection if left untreated. 
  • Joint dislocations can occur due to the force of a fall, resulting in discomfort, a restricted range of motion, and possibly even long-term joint problems. 
  • Falls can cause neck injuries, which can range from whiplash to more serious conditions that affect the cervical spine and surrounding tissues. 
  • Shoulder injuries: Landing on an outstretched arm during a fall can cause dislocations, fractures, and strains to the shoulder. 
  • Emotional Trauma: Fall accidents can result in emotional trauma in addition to physical injuries, which can result in anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Contact a Construction Fall Accident Lawyer in Queens

We know that in tragic moments like the ones you have had to go through due to this accident, sometimes words are superfluous. From The Ward Law Group, we want to convey our desire to help you. It would be best if you did not face this hard road alone. With the support of our experts, your recovery will be easier. 

We have seen hundreds of cases in which the victims thought they had lost everything. But, with our legal advice, experience, and focus on helping others, things improved quicker than expected. Finally, compensation was obtained to compensate for these unfortunate events. 

Don't think twice. It would be best if you did not suffer in vain. With our help, you will regain that smile that no one should take away from you, and you will be able to enjoy a happy ending after a bitter moment. 

Call us at 855-DOLOR-55 for a free case consultation!