One of the most common causes for workers becoming injured are fall accidents on construction sites. The causes for these accidents vary but include falls from a ladder, scaffold, or uncovered openings. Employers will use different safety measures to make sure falls do not occur at a construction site. The individuals responsible for safety at job sites include a general contractor, site safety manager. They also include the supervisors in charge of the various trades at the site. If any of these individuals fail in their job of making sure the construction site is safe for the workers, accidents are the unfortunate result.
Safety Measures for Fall Accidents On Construction Sites
To prevent workers from fall accidents on construction sites, safety measures must comply with New York laws and regulations. These include placing ladders on stable and level surfaces. A construction worker wants a safe ladder equipped with rubber feet or anti-skid surfaces. He or she wants to place the ladder on a stable ground that is clear of debris. Equip scaffolds with guardrails and toe-boards as they prevent a worker or loose tool from falling off a platform. Surround unprotected openings with barricades or have wood covers fastened in place to prevent workers from falling through them. However, overlooking a safety device can be disastrous. A worker may unknowingly use a broken or old ladder or scaffold with worn out parts.
A recent case involved a worker who was suddenly injured when his 10-foot ladder slipped and tipped over. Due to tipping over, he fell to the ground. The ladder he used was unsafe. Nothing kept it in place to stop it from falling. The worker asked the court to find the building owner at fault under Labor Law Section 240(1). The worker claimed this was due to his being provided an unsecured ladder and no other safety devices that could prevent his injuries.
Labor Law Section 240(1)
Labor Law Section 240(1) is a New York State law that protects construction workers by requiring building owners and general contractors to provide safety devices that prevent them from having height-related injuries. The law applies to falling workers and falling objects. A falling worker accident is when a worker falls from a safety device such as a ladder or scaffold that tips over. This law also applies to workers hit by a falling object such as a beam or tool.
In the case, the building owner claimed the law does not apply since the worker chose an unsafe ladder. The ladder the worker was using was only one segment of the entire extension ladder. The owner argued the worker deciding to use this ladder instead of another available ladder at the site was the sole proximate cause of the accident. In response, the worker proved he was not solely responsible for his accident. This was due to other workers at the site had used the same ladder. He also proved another worker at the construction site had set up the ladder in an unsafe manner.
The appellate court agreed with the worker. It found the building owner responsible for the worker’s injuries. This was based on a violation of Labor Law 240(1). The evidence showed the owner never told the worker to not use the ladder he was working on when he fell. If there were better safety devices at the construction site, the owner was responsible for instructing the worker to use those other devices. Failing to do so, the court found the owner liable for the worker’s injuries.
This case shows how it is important it is to have proper safety devices to protect workers from falling accidents. Sometimes a worker will not get the devices he or she needs to do her job safely. The chances are more likely using a worn or broken device will cause serious injuries. If you sustained injuries in fall accidents on construction sites, contact the personal injury attorneys at our law firm immediately.