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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Tagged with fall

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Safety Stand down to prevent fall in construction 2021The annual Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction started Today and will last all week-long.

In 2019, among the 1,061 construction workers fatalities recorded in the US by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 401 of them were caused by falls.  Most of these accidents could have been prevented if adequate safety measures were in place. Many fall fatalities could be avoided by following these 5 basic rules:

  1. Always use fall protection if you are working at 6 feet or more
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fall prevention 2021Despite safety regulations and awareness campaigns falls continue to be the number one cause of deaths and injuries among construction workers.  According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, among the 1008 construction worker fatalities recorded nationally in 2018, 320 were fall fatalities.

To continue raising awareness about the risks of fall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is partnering with multiple construction safety advocates and governmental organizations  such as  the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE),  the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA),  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),  the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the U.S. Navy to educate as many construction workers as possible on fall safety.

Any companies involved in construction can participate in the Stand-Down 2021 and will receive a certificate of participation if they do so

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fall fatalities in NYC 2020A hard hat died after he fell from the 16th floor at a construction site in Manhattan. The 52 year old worker was a unionized sheet metal worker who had been with Local 28 for 24 years. He was doing doing some work at the NYU Ambulatory Care Center located on 41st Street between Third and Second Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The Medical Center is open to patients but some construction is still going on inside and outside. The DOB told the media that the fall was not related to the construction going on inside the building. The worker arrived at the Medical Center at 6:30 am last Friday morning and went to the back of the building and took a hoist elevator that runs at the exterior of the building. Two hours later the man fell and was found lying dead on the ground at the back of the building. The DOT is still investigating the exact cause of the accident.

Eric Meslin, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28 president and business manager  told the News “I worked with him personally back when we had tools on. He was a good guy to be around,” Meslin said. “He had a big personality. It’s hitting our members hard.”

Falls are the number one cause of construction workers fatalities. Last year among the 8 construction workers fatalities reported by the New York City Department of Buildings, 4 of them were falls. (see previous blog)

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safety stand down constructionFalls in construction are the main cause of construction worker deaths and injuries. In the US, every year  around 200 workers die and 10,000 suffer personal injury after they fell on a construction site.

To prevent and reduce fall accidents, every year since 2012, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are joining forces annually for a one week national campaign asking construction workers and their supervisors all over the nation to conduct a stand down focusing on fall prevention.

During a stand down, workers pause work and  participate in discussions or activities related to fall prevention and safety policies

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Construction job with the highest risk of fall injuriesFall is the number one cause of death for construction workers. Every year in America, 10,000 construction workers suffer serious injuries and 200 die in fall accidents. To raise awareness about this problem, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) are organizing a yearly national campaign: The National Safety Stand-Down. The event lasts several days during which every construction company owner is invited to spend a day or at least a few hours with their employees to review fall safety protection.  Thousands of construction companies are participating every year reaching millions of construction workers.

This year the event was supposed to be organized  in May but many construction businesses were shut down because of the Covid-19 crisis. Therefore the 7th National Safety Stand-Down to prevent Falls has been moved to the 14th to 18th of September 2020.

For this year, the organizers suggest that the event be held virtually or that companies owners make sure that construction workers social distance during the stand-down. Video and webinar might be a good way to keep the stand-down safe for all.

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Since 2011 the number of construction workers who died in a fall accident increased by 45% according to the recent report “Trends of Fall Injuries and Prevention in the Construction Industry” released by the The Center for Construction Research and Training.

The report focuses mostly on data from 2011 to 2017 and found that despite a slow down in construction accident fatalities between 2016 and 2017, the number of deaths related to fall accidents continued to rise. 389 construction workers fell to their death in 2017 compared to 388 in 2016.

construction deaths and fall deaths 2003 to 2017
Among the 389 fall fatalities, 367 were to a lower level. Falls from roofs are the most common and account for approximately one third of the fall fatalities. Falls from ladders are the second most common causes of fall fatalities and account for approximately a quarter of them.  All in all falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds account for more than 70% of all falls to a lower level.

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harness safety equipment on scaffold The leading cause of construction workers deaths are falls. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a brochure with information on how employers and construction workers can better prevent fall injuries and deaths. Every year in the US more than 31o workers die and more than 10,350 are injured after falling from heights. Workers on roofs, workers on ladders and workers on scaffolds have the highest risk of getting injured in a fall. According to statistics from the US Department of Labor, in 2016, 124 workers died after falling from a roof, 104 of them died after falling from a ladder and 60 of them died after falling from a scaffold.

Roofers have the most dangerous occupation

81% of people dying after falling from a roof are construction workers. Most common factors contributing to this fatal accidents are inexperience, lack of fall protection,  no safety harness, fall protection system not proprely installed, working alone, bad weather conditions. Falls can be prevented by implementing a serious fall protection program, making sure workers all have proper safety equipment and are proprely trained to use it,inspecting fall equipment, using proper anchorage, using buddy system and monitoring weather conditions

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Fall Prevention Campaign887 workers lost their life after falling at their job sites in 2017 according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest number of fall deaths ever recorded by the BLS since the agency started to track these numbers almost 30 years ago. Fall fatalities account for 17% of all job-related fatalities and 40% of all construction job-related fatalities.

The most at risk are often construction workers with little training and experience who have been hired to work on construction sites after the recent boom in construction led to a labor force shortage in the industry. 60% of construction workers who died in a fall in 2017 were working for small companies (1 to 10 workers). As a comparison small construction companies only hire a third of the workforce in the construction industry in the US. Small companies are often hired for residential construction, a sector where fatal falls more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. Hispanic workers are the most at risk of dying in a fall accident. Language barrier, little training and also the fear of immigration authorities preventing undocumented workers to report dangerous conditions to OSHA are among the factors that led Hispanic workers to perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry.

Fall related violations are the most common OSHA violations

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New-York-Slip-and-Fall1Every day 223 older adults visit the emergency room after being injured in a fall in NY State, 140 are hospitalized and 2 die. Fall is the leading cause of unintentional injuries and deaths among older New Yorkers and among older people in the US as well. In the US every 19 minutes an older person dies from injuries related to a fall.

For people over 65 year old, falls often have serious consequences that can affect their global well being, their mobility, their independence and their mental health. 60% of the older New Yorkers who are hospitalized after a fall end up in a nursing home or a rehabilitation center. 11% of them suffer traumatic brain injury and 27% of them suffer from hip fractures.  In most cases falls occur at home. 60% of older adults hospitalized for a fall in New York fell in their own home.

Obviously as people get older, they loose some of their strength,  they sometimes have physical disabilities, their vision is decreasing and they take more medication which can lead to drowsiness. All these factors increase the risk of fall.

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Virtual reality (VR) can help prevent construction accident injuries and deaths. Recently, the American Society of Safety Professionals developed a virtual reality app for fall protection training. The app provides an immersive experience where the trainee is transported on the roof of a building, has to identify hazards and select the the proper equipment and tools to execute a dangerous task. The advantage of virtual reality is that it can virtually put workers in dangerous situations and let them experience how their actions can affect outcomes without taking any safety risks. So far the app is pretty basic but as technology continues to develop, it has a great potential to become a fantastic training tool for fall prevention.

Other simulators such as welding simulators are now used by 30% of union chapters in the US. Virtual sprayers to learn how to paint have also been in use for the last 5 years saving a lot of paint and material. A virtual lift simulator was presented last year at the Iron Workers annual conference as well as a beta version of a virtual training room where several trainees can work together in the same space.  More and more unions are considering adding VR in their training programs especially now that VR providers are trying to bring the costs down.