It is no secret that construction is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. Construction workers are at increased risk for both injurious accidents and fatal workplace incidents. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has identified the four biggest risks to construction workers, also called the “fatal four.”
This list includes caught-between accidents, getting struck by falling supplies or machinery, electrocution and falls. In many of these kinds of events, human error plays a significant role, which means that employers have limits regarding how much they can actually reduce the risk. When it comes to falls, however, fatalities are almost always preventable with good work practices, proper training and adequate safety restraints.
Employers prefer cutting costs over prioritizing worker safety
It is unfortunate to say, but many companies in the construction field put more emphasis on their ability to turn a profit than to keep their employees safe on the job. Training for how to avoid falls, properly use restraints, such as harnesses, and other common-sense harm-reduction options are often overlooked by construction companies that prefer instead to merely comply with the letter of the law and not with what is reasonable or best for their workers.
For example, in New York, companies typically have an obligation to provide harness equipment for workers on a building and ensure they have at least 30 hours of safety training. Even a fall from a second-story could leave someone with permanent disabilities or injury severe enough to cause death.
Companies that should put safety first and profits second. If you or someone you love got significantly hurt in a construction fall that would have been preventable with adequate training or safety equipment, you may have legal rights to hold the company accountable in certain circumstances.