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For construction workers, falls are among the most common and deadly types of accidents

We've previously discussed the myriad of safety hazards that men and women who work construction face on a daily basis. The grave dangers of construction work are evidenced by the significant number of construction-related injuries and deaths that occur each year.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, during 2014, construction workers made up more than 20 percent of total U.S. worker deaths. Contributing to nearly 40 percent of all construction-related deaths, falls pose the greatest danger to construction workers. A recent construction accident that occurred at a building in New York City, provides a real-life example of the devastating injuries that can result when construction employers fail to protect workers.

According to The New York Times, a 55-year-old male worker was critically injured when he fell off a ladder and down an elevator shaft. The worker's fall was broke by three sharp and jagged pieces of metal rebar which pierced his leg, arm and torso. Additionally, several heavy Cinder blocks were also reported to have fallen on the man’s body before the metal bars could be cut and the man freed.

Officials from the city's Buildings Department continue to investigate the accident to determine what factors may have contributed to the man's fall and resulting injuries. However, a spokesperson for the DOB did go on record—reporting that the worker was not wearing any type of harness or other fall-protection gear when the accident occurred.

Additionally, the elevator shaft was not covered and the pieces of rebar weren't capped.
Construction employers have a legal duty to protect construction workers from suffering injury or harm due to known dangers. The use of protective equipment like harnesses save lives and should have been provided to the worker in question.

Source: New York Daily News, "Construction worker impaled on steel bars after a five-story fall in Flatiron building," Ryan Sit, Greg B. Smith, Graham Rayman, Jan. 27, 2016

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