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Construction Fall Accidents Often Cause Serious Injuries

Construction worker use safety harness and safety line working on a new construction site project. Harness is a equipment for safety in construction site.

In San Antonio and throughout Bexar County, construction accidents frequently lead to severe injuries among workers. Among the most prevalent causes are falls at construction sites, which typically fall into two categories:

  • Slip and falls.
  • Falls from a height.

But why are these types of accidents so prevalent in the construction industry? What injuries commonly result from such falls? And what legal recourse do injured construction workers have in Texas? The construction accident attorneys at The Herrera Law Firm in San Antonio provide answers to these questions.

How common are slip and fall accidents in construction?

Slip and fall accidents involving construction workers occur more frequently than many might realize. The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reports that slip and fall accidents are significantly more common in the construction industry compared to other sectors.

According to workplace accident data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), on average, over 21,000 construction workers suffer injuries in slip and fall accidents at work each year.

How common are falls from a height?

Falling from a height ranks among the most frequent causes of serious injuries at construction sites. According to a 2022 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on falls, trips, and slips in the construction industry, construction workers are three times more likely than workers in other sectors to suffer injuries from falls, particularly from elevated surfaces such as roofs or scaffolding.

To provide context, approximately 1 out of 5 workplace fatalities occur within the construction industry. Shockingly, about 1 out of 3 construction-related deaths involve slip, trip, and fall accidents, with falls to a lower level being the primary cause, as highlighted in the 2022 BLS study.

Numerous factors contribute to the high incidence of fall-related accidents in the construction sector. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies four common causes of such incidents:

  • Unprotected sides, wall openings, and floor holes: Construction sites often feature open edges, floor openings, or wall gaps, posing significant fall hazards. These unprotected areas occur throughout various construction stages, from excavation to finishing. Failure to install guardrails or covers increases the risk of accidental falls.
  • Improper scaffold construction: Scaffoldings must be meticulously assembled to prevent collapses or accidents. However, improper construction, characterized by unstable platforms, inadequate bracing, or improper access methods like ladders, is a leading cause of fall accidents.
  • Unguarded protruding steel rebars: Steel reinforcement bars (rebars) used in concrete construction present impalement hazards when protruding. Insufficient guarding or capping of these rebars exposes workers to serious injury risks.
  • Misuse of portable ladders: Portable ladders are common tools for accessing elevated work areas. However, their improper use, including utilizing damaged or defective ladders or setting them up on unstable surfaces, contributes significantly to fall accidents.

Other common causes of fall-related accidents

In addition to the four common causes identified by OSHA, there are several other factors that contribute to fall-related accidents in construction:

  • Failure to provide safety equipment: Construction workers must be equipped with appropriate safety gear, such as hard hats, safety harnesses, and other personal protective equipment (PPE), to mitigate the risk of falls. Failing to provide or enforce the use of such equipment increases the likelihood of accidents.
  • Lack of safety training: Proper safety training is crucial for construction workers to understand and mitigate fall hazards effectively. Without adequate training, workers may not recognize potential dangers or know how to use safety equipment correctly, putting themselves at greater risk of injury.
  • Unmarked hazards: Construction sites can be dynamic environments with constantly changing conditions. Failure to identify and mark hazards, such as uneven surfaces or debris, increases the risk of tripping or slipping, leading to fall accidents.
  • Poor lighting and dangerous working conditions: Inadequate lighting and other hazardous working conditions, such as slippery surfaces or cluttered work areas, create additional fall risks for construction workers. To prevent accidents, employers must ensure that work areas are well-lit and free from hazards.
  • Lack of communication: Effective communication between construction supervisors and workers is essential for maintaining a safe work environment. Failure to communicate about potential hazards, safety protocols, or changes in work procedures can lead to misunderstandings and an increased risk of accidents.

Construction workers are at risk of severe injuries in falls

Construction workers face significant risks of sustaining severe injuries from falls, and these injuries can have long-lasting consequences. Common fall-related construction injuries include:

  • Head injuries: Falls often result in head trauma, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can have serious cognitive and neurological effects.
  • Neck injuries: Falls may cause neck fractures, which can result in debilitating pain and limited mobility.
  • Back injuries: Spinal cord injuries are common in falls and can lead to permanent disability or paralysis.
  • Hand and arm injuries: Construction workers may suffer broken bones in the arms, hands, or fingers, affecting their ability to work and perform daily tasks.
  • Leg and foot injuries: Falls can cause bone fractures in the legs or feet, leading to mobility issues and chronic pain.
  • Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma from falls can result in internal injuries such as internal bleeding and organ damage, which may require immediate medical attention and surgery to address.

Contact a construction accident lawyer if you've been injured

Construction accident claims involving falls often become complicated legal cases due to the severity of the injuries sustained and the complex nature of construction site regulations in Texas. These cases often require a thorough investigation to determine liability and establish negligence on the part of the responsible parties.

Additionally, navigating insurance claims and negotiating fair compensation can be challenging without the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you've been injured in a construction fall accident, it's crucial to seek legal representation from a skilled lawyer who understands the nuances of construction accident law.

At The Herrera Law Firm, our attorneys can protect your rights, gather evidence to support your claim, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Get the law firm that gets results for injured workers. Our office is located on West Commerce Street in San Antonio, and we handle construction accident claims throughout Bexar County. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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