Year after year, the greatest number of fatalities in the construction industry are attributed to falls from heights, most often from ladders or scaffolds. Ladder falls can cause every type of injury from cuts, bruises and sprains to death. Broken bones and head, neck and back injuries, causing traumatic brain injury or permanent paralysis such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, are possible as well.
Ladders are often required at the job site by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA rules require a ladder or stairway on any construction project where there is an elevation of 19 inches or more and no ramp, runway, hoist, or other means of scaling the height. In addition, the employer must regularly inspect and maintain ladders, and must often provide a ladder fall protection system that meets OSHA standards, such as safety cages, wells, body belts and harnesses. These rules apply to any job-made or manufactured portable ladders used on-site. Ladders used to get on or off of scaffolds are subject to different rules.
Ladder falls can be attributed to a number of hazards, including:
- Oil, grease and other slipping hazards on the ladder
- Ladders loaded beyond their capacity
- Ladders being used for other than their designed purpose
- Unsecured ladders placed on unstable, uneven or slippery surfaces
- Ladders placed in passageways where they are likely to be shifted or moved by other workers
- Ladders built on the job site with unevenly-spaced or crooked rungs
In addition to the risk of falls, placing ladders where the conductive rails could be exposed to electricity is another hazard, creating the risk of electrocution.
Construction sites are one of the most hazardous places to work, and ladder falls are some of the most common, and most serious or deadly, types of accidents. Employers have an obligation to keep the worksite safe for their employees. When negligence or an unsafe jobsite causes severe injury, or death to a loved one, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. to hold those responsible accountable for their failures and the damages they have caused.