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Why Do Falls Happen So Often on Construction Sites?

By Butler Prather LLP on January 10, 2024

If you’re a construction worker, you can feel proud about the work you do. Every building you see was made by construction workers, and this country could not exist without you.

Construction work is very demanding, and constant aches and pains are part of the job. It’s also very dangerous work, and thousands of construction workers are injured on the job every year. In a recent year, there were over 40 fatal work injuries on construction sites in Georgia, which is more than any other industry.

Falls are one of the most frequent causes of construction site injuries and fatalities. According to OSHA, 351 deaths resulted from construction site falls in a single year.

How Do Construction Site Falls Occur?

There is a risk of falling any time a construction worker is more than six feet above a lower level. Construction workers may fall from roofs, ladders, lifts, scaffolds, elevated platforms, buildings, and other structures.

There are several types of incidents that may result in a fall, including:

  • Slipping on wet surfaces
  • Tripping over wires, cords, and misplaced objects
  • Heavy winds
  • Lightning
  • Being struck by a falling or swinging object.

Fall Hazards That Must Be Eliminated

It is the employer’s responsibility to create a work environment free from fall hazards. These hazards include:

  • Broken or missing guardrails
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Blocked and cluttered walkways
  • Poorly constructed scaffolding
  • Broken or poorly secured ladders
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Broken or frayed safety harnesses
  • Malfunctioning safety equipment
  • Poorly designed worksites
  • Insufficiently anchored fall arrest systems
  • Inadequate safety training

What Construction Companies Can Do To Prevent Falls

There are two ways to prevent fall injuries–implementing prevention measures that stop falls from occurring and utilizing personal fall arrest systems that stop a worker from hitting the ground after a fall happens.

Fall prevention measures include guardrails, safety nets, and warning lines, as well as proper training and procedures.

A personal fall arrest system uses a harness connected to a belt that restrains the worker. The harness is attached to an anchor, and the whole apparatus must be strong enough to catch the worker in midair. It must be rigged so that the worker cannot make contact with a lower level.

Every job site should have a safety officer responsible for educating workers about safe practices. Active measures to reduce fall risk include:

  • Mandatory safety training
  • A comprehensive safety plan
  • Warning signs
  • Regular inspections
  • Posted safety procedures
  • Eliminating fall hazards

Injuries Caused by Construction Site Falls

Everyone who works in construction may be vulnerable to fall injuries, including roofers, drywallers, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, masons, glaziers, carpenters, and solar panel installers. Falls from six feet or more cause devastating injuries, leading to chronic pain, disfigurements, and disabilities. Frequent fall injuries include:

How Your Constriction Site Injury Lawyer Can Help

The state of Georgia requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover the cost of wage replacement, disability payments, and medical treatment for workers who suffer illnesses or injuries that arise from or are caused by work. Workers’ comp also includes wrongful death compensation for survivors.

The workers’ compensation system is a messy bureaucracy with complicated rules and strict filing deadlines. Your construction injury lawyer will make sure your paperwork is filed correctly and submitted on time. If your workers’ comp insurance company refuses to honor your claim, your attorney will file an appeal and represent you throughout the appeals process.

Workers’ compensation benefits have limitations, and they may not be sufficient to cover all the expenses caused by your injury. Your attorney may be able to secure additional compensation beyond your workers’ compensation benefits.

If a third party other than your employer committed an act of negligence that contributed to your injuries, your attorney can file a claim or lawsuit to recover damages. Liable third parties may include:

  • Private contractors
  • Property owners
  • Equipment vendors
  • Manufacturers of defective equipment

Compensation Available from Liable Third-Parties

Your Georgia personal injury attorney will investigate the accident by interviewing witnesses, reviewing the accident report, examining physical evidence, and collecting accident scene photos and surveillance camera video. Then, your attorney will file a claim or lawsuit against any third-party actor who bears responsibility for your injuries.

A claim for construction injuries caused by a third party includes these types of damages:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Medical devices
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • In-home nursing care
  • Job training
  • Occupational therapy
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Wheelchair ramps for your home
  • Wrongful death

Were You Injured in a Georgia Construction Site Accident?

Butler Prather LLP is dedicated to getting justice for people who were harmed by the careless actions of others. Our firm has won landmark cases for clients in over 30 states. In fact, our attorneys have won over a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts, including nine verdicts that exceed $100 million and over 60 verdicts and settlements of over $10 million.

Our Georgia attorneys have been recognized by Super Lawyers for the superior service we provide. Founding partner James Butler was featured in the Atlanta Bar Association’s Legends of the Bar Series.

Call us at (706) 322-1990 to schedule a FREE consultation today.

I was in a complex premises liability case involving a multinational corporations. Mr. Butler & his associates were always three steps ahead of these defendants. When they say they are "exceptional trial lawyers," this is not just a slogan but it is a way of life.”
- Zack Hendon