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Falls: A common risk in construction work

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Firm News |

Falls are one of the most dangerous and common causes of fatalities and severe injuries in the construction industry. What should you know about these dangerous job site accidents?

What causes falls on construction sites?

Falls in the construction industry can occur due to a variety of reasons. Understanding these causes in depth can help in implementing more effective safety measures. Here are some expanded explanations of common causes of falls on construction sites:

  • Ladders – While ladders only raise a worker a short distance from the ground, falls from ladders can still cause serious injuries. Using a ladder that is too short, setting up ladders on uneven surfaces, not securing ladders properly or reaching too far beyond the ladder’s side rails can all cause a loss of balance.
  • Elevated platforms – Working far off the ground on roofs or scaffolding is common in the construction industry, and it is also a common source of risk. Roof edges or roof openings may not have the guard rails they need, and scaffolding can become unstable or collapse in some situations.
  • Inclement weather conditions – Wet, icy or windy conditions can create slippery surfaces, cause ladders to shift and create other risks. This can increase the risk of falls.
  • Debris or uneven surfaces – Construction work can involve uneven ground, and wood, bricks, broken concrete and a variety of other materials may be located throughout the job site. These can make it difficult for workers to stabilize their footing, or they can lead to tripping hazards.

These and other factors make falls a particularly common type of construction accident.

Construction industry falls by the numbers

With so many hazards on a job site, falls are a common risk for construction workers. In fact, falls impact around 20,000 construction workers every year, according to the Centers of Disease Control.

The injuries that result are often severe, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and back injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that construction workers take time away from work due to falls at about three times the rate of other industries.

Unfortunately, falls also often have deadly consequences. Falls account for more than one third of construction industry deaths according to the BLS. Furthermore, the CDC reports that almost as many deadly falls occur in the construction industry as in all other workplaces combined.

When falls occur on job sites, workers’ compensation can provide a crucial safety net for construction workers and their loved ones. Workers’ compensation provides benefits that help injured workers manage the financial and personal hardships that can result from falls and other workplace accidents.