Construction Accidents Caused by Falls from Roofs
By Younker Hyde Macfarlane on May 15, 2014
When working on a construction site, everyone should take the necessary precautions to minimize any risk of injury. This does not just apply to the workers themselves, but also any contractors and property owners involved, as it is their responsibility to provide the necessary equipment and guidelines for a relatively safe work environment. The good news is that, from 2008 to 2011, Utah led the nation in decreased fatalities from construction, with a 52 percent improvement. Still, there is much work to be done in regard to workplace safety, and employers should continue to be held accountable when they fail to meet these standards.
The number one danger to construction workers is falling, especially from a roof, as it accounts for one third of all construction fatalities in the United States. Oftentimes, these falls are not simply a matter of losing one’s footing, but rather arise from a lack of safeguards in place. If you are injured from a construction site fall in the Salt Lake City area, our team of personal injuries attorneys are ready to help you determine liability and seek legal action.
How Rooftop Falls Occur
Although it is possible for a construction worker to simply lose his or her footing, sites should be equipped with multiple fall protection systems, as outlined by the national Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). While working on a roof, workers should have access to sturdy guardrails, body-belts, harnesses, or similar safety structures. If none of these are present or they fail, workers are unreasonably exposed to danger. Similarly, ladders, brackets, and scaffolds should be equally secure and reliable.
In some cases, workers may fall due to unexpected conditions in the roof itself, including:
- Loose shingles
- A collapsing roof
- Holes or openings in the roof
- Falling debris
- Open skylights
When a fall does occur, the risk of injury should be prevented or reduced through precautions such as safety nets and lifelines. The combination of an unsafe construction site with no fall protection is simply an accident waiting to happen.
Risk of Injury from Falls
A fall from a single level can result in serious and sometimes permanent injury. In fact, a significant portion of fatalities from falls occurred from a height of 10 feet or less. Common injuries associated with rooftop falls include:
- Back injuries
- Leg, ankle, and foot injuries
- Bone fractures
- Dislocated joints
- Head trauma or brain damage
- Spinal injuries
Such injuries can cause long-lasting pain and damage, resulting in ongoing medical bills and missed work. Even when an injury fully heals, the initial medical costs can be a burden to a worker and his or her family.
What Can Be Done?
If you are injured due to a fall from a roof, it is a good idea to speak with experienced construction accident attorneys as soon as you are able. There is often a time limit on when you are able to pursue litigation, and most construction companies or property owners will be quick to have their own lawyers on the case. By gathering evidence of your accident and injuries, we can help prove who was at fault. In many instances, such injuries are caused by the negligence of a general contractor, subcontractor, or property owner who failed to meet OSHA regulations. Once we are able to prove negligence, you can be awarded compensation for some or all of your damages, including immediate medical bills, ongoing medical care, and missed work days. In the event your injuries prevent you from working in construction again, or a family member has been killed by a workplace injury, we will work to award additional benefits to you and your family.
Contact Our Office
Speak with one of our knowledgeable legal professionals as soon as you have been injured on the job. Contact our firm today for additional information on what can be done to protect you from the consequences of a personal injury.
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