How Common Are Fall Injuries Among Construction Workers?

construction worker hooked on to a scaffold

Construction Worker Fall Statistics

In 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that falls accounted for 351 out of the total 1,008 construction worker deaths in the United States. This makes falls the leading cause of death in this profession. These are often preventable.

Common Injuries Associated With Falls

Even if not fatal, construction workers may experience severe injuries from falls that can cause long-term complications. Some of the most common fall-related injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries like sprains
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures, particularly to the wrist, back, and neck
  • Dislocations

These types of injuries can range from minor to severe, and some may even result in death. In many cases, the severity of the injury will depend on the height from which the worker fell. For example, a fall from a ladder is more likely to result in serious injury than a fall from a lower height.

What is New York’s Scaffold Law?

In New York, construction workers are protected by the state’s Scaffold Laws. Enacted in 1885, employers are held liable for injuries that a worker sustains when falling from a height if the proper safety precautions were not present. This is applicable to all projects where the scaffolding or staging is twenty feet or more above the ground on an exterior wall.

Additionally, these laws extend to injuries sustained from being struck by an object when performing construction work. Employers have a duty to provide personal protective equipment to workers, as well as ensure that all equipment is being used in a safe manner. Although OSHA was established after this law was enacted, safety regulations under this agency may also apply.

Protecting New York’s Construction Workers

Construction companies who fail to comply with New York’s Scaffold Laws and OSHA’s regulations should be held accountable for putting employees at risk. When you’ve sustained a construction injury, call (845) 251-4545 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

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