Cases are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and account for a third of all deaths. As an important source of worker-related accidents, fall prevention is a strong focus for both contractors and industry leaders. However, falls continue to be a relevant issue for the industry and the main focus for construction safety campaigns across the country. In this article, you can learn some interesting cases involving construction downturns and some best practices to implement in your business.
As previously mentioned, cases are most common in the construction industry. In fact, according to National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) they represent over 51% of all cases nationally.
An interesting point to note, however, is the types of cases without a fatal outcome that harm the industry. According to 2019 data from US Bureau of Labor Statisticscases from the following exposures contributed to the maximum number of days away from work:
- Fall to lower level: 13 770
- Falling at the same level: 7,400
- Slips, trips without falls: 3,620
- Total case: 24,790
This difference, which has increased steadily since 2015, is important to note. Not only do non-fatal case data identify non-fatal exposures to improve, but exposures that are more likely to lead to unfortunate fall deaths.
As one of the most controversial industries in the United States, construction has experienced some notable fall prevention cases. The use of heavy machinery plus multi-level work sets a high exposure threshold for construction workers.
In a high-profile case, a demolition worker fell four floors while driving a front loader during a stadium project. Due to financial penalties for the project, the main contractor used subcontractors to demolish the pillars in the stadium. An examination showed that while the loader could maintain 2,700 pounds of power, the pillars being cut weighed 15,000 pounds. As a result, OSHA cited subcontractors who were at fault for violating safety regulations. An agreement of almost 56 million was reached.
In another case from 2018, a construction company was ordered to pay a civil penalty of 100,000 and 150,000 criminal fines as part of a case prevention case. In 2015, a construction worker fell 3 floors when he completed stucco work. The case caused the worker to have a skull fracture and a tear in the forehead lobe. The case concluded that the construction company committed 8 OSHA security breaches in addition to four serious lawsuits. As a result, the company is subject to OSHA monitoring for 4 years.
A recent lawsuit filed with Romanucci & Blandin, LLC referred to several violations of a construction worker’s death following a fall in late 2019. The victim, who fell two floors while building a church, died after being in intensive care for more than two weeks. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed that the client did not have a proper building permit and did not have the necessary fall protection in place. Incorrect negligence is stated as the main cause of the accident and is still under settlement from 2020.
Case prevention best practice
To mitigate construction falls, the National Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has partnered with NIOSH and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). The campaign, which has been in force since 2012, aims to raise awareness among workers and industry leaders about common fall risks and controls to implement.
Before you start working on a project, be sure to plan ahead. When estimating the cost of labor, project managers should take into account the cost of safety equipment and the right tools and materials needed for that particular job. For example, the use of personal fall protection systems (PFA) is common for most roof and exterior painting projects.
Providing the right equipment for the job is another important step towards fall prevention. Using the right type of ladders, scaffolding and safety equipment can protect employees working from as low as 6 feet above the ground. Make sure to regularly inspect fall protection equipment so that it is ready for safe use.
Lasting, proper training in the use of equipment is essential to keep all workers safe. Ensuring that everyone knows the correct installation and use of fall prevention equipment can keep everyone responsible and safe. Make sure employees are aware of the common hazards and controls that exist for the specific job you are performing.
For more information on best practices for fall prevention and how to properly protect your construction workers, visit BNC insurance to talk to an advisor today.