Falls from Heights
The number one hazard on construction sites is falls. These can occur with heights ranging from a few rungs up a ladder to a long drop from a beam or ledge. Needless to say, as heights increase, so do dangers – and exponentially. However, even a fall of a few feet can cause significant injury. It is then that a victim needs to call a New York fall injury attorney.
There may be no way to avoid fall injuries completely. The very nature of working atop high rises, or from scaffolding high up, is conducive to danger. Sometimes equipment that has been in working order malfunctions without warning. In other cases, habit can cause a worker to be so used to securing stays or ropes that he forgets to do so just that one time.
When an accident occurs, the injuries can be devastating. A worker whose ladder collapses beneath him can fall to the ground head first. Indeed, head and brain injury is not uncommon. Broken bones are almost a given. In fact, a fall from any significant height can lead to crushed arms and legs, and even crushed internal organs. Spinal injuries can leave a worker wheelchair-bound and unable to pursue his livelihood ever again. And if the fall is from a beam or ledge high in the air, the result is almost certain death.
Safety regulations call for inspections of scaffolding and other equipment before each shift when the equipment will be used. However, despite lanyards, ropes, stays, tethers, harnesses, and other equipment designed to keep workers from injury, the commonness of falls suggests that other factors are involved. Inclement weather can make a beam or ledge slick. Wind can throw a worker – or scaffolding – off balance.
The extreme heat of summer can render a worker dizzy and dehydrated. All too often, however, fall injuries occur because of carelessness. A rush to finish a job can lead workers, and even contractors, to cut corners. Equipment inspections may be neglected. As they hurry workers may forget to hook themselves into harnesses properly.
Who Is Liable?
New York Labor Law Section 240 covers issues of liability in fall accidents in construction, demolition and other types of activities. Generally speaking, the contractor, building manager, or property owner carries the burden of responsibility of ensuring that the worksite is safe, and that employees practice safe work habits. After all, a fall victim may be able to receive compensation for his injuries, but he is the one who ultimately has to suffer pain and debilitation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New York personal injury accident, the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Please contact us at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5486) for a free and comprehensive consultation. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.