At our law firm, we represent many Maryland construction workers who have been hurt — often catastrophically — when they fell at work, sometimes from very high elevations. Our lawyers also fight for fair compensation for the surviving loved ones of construction workers who tragically fell in the course of employment, but did not survive.
Injured construction workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and survivors for workers’ compensation death benefits. In both kinds of cases, there may also be third parties (other than the employer) who are liable for personal injury or wrongful death. For example, the manufacturer of a defective ladder or dangerously designed scaffolding that collapsed and caused a fall could be liable in a product liability suit.
New construction fall data
Statistics have recently been released from two different sources that underscore the immensity of fall danger to construction workers.
A couple of days ago, an article in Claims Journal described that almost one-third of workers’ compensation claims paid out by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company concerning construction work accidents were for falls. This data was gleaned from more than 10,000 construction-work claims from the last five years.
Earlier this year, Safety and Health magazine reported that, over a 33-year time period, 42 percent of construction worker fatalities were from falling, according to new data analysis. Researchers also found that more than half of these workers did not have fall-protection safety equipment. (The article links to a searchable database of government work-related death statistics.)
Most of those without “personal fall arrest systems” or PFASs worked in residential construction or in roofing, sheet metal or siding jobs. About one-third of the fatal falls were from heights of at least 30 feet or more.
This week (May 7 through 11, 2018) has been declared the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, which is partnering with other governmental and trade groups. The goal is to raise awareness of the dangers of falls and to encourage employers and employees to discuss safety problems and fall prevention practices.
We urge all Maryland construction companies and contractors to vigorously comply with all federal and state safety laws to prevent falls. Anyone who experiences a fall in construction work should speak with an attorney as soon as possible about workers’ compensation rights and potential third-party lawsuits.