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Falls cause most deaths in construction accidents

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, falls are the leading cause of deaths on construction sites. As New York City is always in the throes of construction projects, it is vital for companies to have health and safety provisions in place to protect their workers from being killed or injured in falls on the job.

Below are some of the hazards that are responsible for the most injuries attributable to falls:

-- Improperly constructed scaffolding. Workers are in tight corners, often at great heights, handling heavy building materials and equipment. When falls occur, they can easily be fatal. Companies should erect scaffolds according to instructions provided by the manufacturer. Guardrails along open sides and platforms should be in place for scaffolds 10 or more feet above a surface level. Workers should have and use protective gear to tie off and prevent falls. No one should climb across cross-braces to access scaffolds.

-- Unprotected floor holes, sides and wall openings. Open floor holes should be guarded or covered immediately during new construction. Existing structures should be assessed first and continually monitored. Floor hole covers should support twice the weight of equipment, materials and workers on the cover at any time.

Fall prevention systems are preferable to fall protection systems because they are more pro-actively geared toward safety.

Construction workers who are injured in falls while on the job may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and lost wages from time away from work while recovering. The survivors of those who were killed in falls may be eligible for compensation as well. A New York personal injury attorney is one source of information for filing a claim for compensation.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Falls" Dec. 17, 2014

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