We often expect construction accidents to involve the powerful machines or temporary structures regularly found on job sites across Maryland. Indeed, this equipment can be dangerous and cause catastrophic accidents, particularly when they are defective or unsafe.
However, one of the biggest threats to construction worker safety is gravity.
Accidents involving gravity
Falling incidents are far too common on construction sites. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that they are the leading cause of fatal accidents on construction sites.
Some of the most frequent – and potentially fatal – occurrences can include:
- Dropped tools
- Debris falling on workers
- Tripping on obstacles or uneven surfaces
- Collapsed scaffolding
- Falling off ladders
These scenarios can result in painful and even life-threatening injuries.
Who is liable when gravity is to blame?
Gravity-related accidents can cause a range of injuries, from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. And rather than cover the expenses of medical bills and lost wages themselves, workers may be able to collect financial remedies with workers’ compensation benefits, a personal injury claim, or both.
When falling, dropping or slipping incidents cause injuries, it may just be an unforeseeable accident without anyone at fault. There may be no one to blame. In these situations, injured workers may not have a claim against anyone, but they can still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, when a party, other than the injured worker’s employer, is negligent or reckless, they can be liable for damages. Parties might include manufacturers of a defective product or parties who failed to comply with safety protocols.
Prioritizing fall prevention
Many regulations are in place to prevent gravity-related accidents, and complying with these rules can be the most effective way to stay safe.
Employers and employees alike will want to:
- Have and wear protective equipment, including hard hats and harnesses
- Perform regular maintenance on construction equipment
- Secure tools while working at heights
- Ensure workers have proper training in recognizing hazards
These measures can keep workers safe, even if someone or something does fall on a construction site.