Holes in Construction Site Flooring
Many accidents still occur at construction sites despite attempts to keep workers free of injuries. Fall-through hazards are among the common safety issues in these workplaces. As a construction worker, you probably did not expect to fall through the flooring and become injured. But now that it has happened, you may face a lengthy recovery and obscene medical bills.
If you were injured on a New York construction site, call Hill & Moin today. We have spent over 40 years helping clients get back on their feet after suffering a devastating work-related injury. When we take on your case, our team of experienced attorneys will go to work right away, fighting for your right to compensation for your damages.
Call Hill & Moin at (212) 668-6000 for a free case evaluation. There is no fee unless you win, and when you work with us, you will see what it is like “having a lawyer in the family.”
Construction Industry Fall Accident Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,102 fatal construction site accidents occurred in 2019, which represents 20.7 percent of all workplace deaths in that year. These incidents were recorded as falling, slipping, or tripping accidents and represented 37.9 percent of all workplace fatalities. The numbers for 2019 are 22.9 percent higher than the previous year. Most of these fatalities involved workers falling to a lower level at a worksite.
32 percent of non-fatal private construction injuries were falls, trips, and slips from one level to another. Most of these incidents required workers to take an average of 28 days off work to recover. Same-level falls, trips, and slips were also found in the data at lower rates, which shows that falls to a lower level cause more severe injuries and death.
OSHA-Defined Falling Hazards at Construction Sites
Accidents involving a worker falling through a hole are one of many construction site dangers. It is so prevalent that OSHA defines a hole and how to protect workers from it. According to OSHA, a “hole” is an open space in a floor, walking surface, or roof at least 2 inches in diameter. Two inches might not seem very large, but it is big enough to cause a severe injury.
Types of Potentially Hazardous Holes Found in Construction Site Flooring
Every construction site can present falling hazards due to holes in surfaces. The most common places where holes can be found are in buildings, such as warehouses, shops, and homes. All these have working platforms that are off the ground.
For example, suppose a roof needs to be built or repaired. Typically, that work will take place at a minimum of one story high.
Types of holes found on construction sites include:
- Roof drains
- Unsupported walkways
- Unfinished stairs
- Unfinished ceilings
- Utility holes
OSHA Standards for Safely Managing Holes at New York Construction Sites
OSHA’s standards require fall protections to be put in place at heights of 4 feet in industrial worksites. Shipyards need protections at five feet, and construction sites require them at 6 feet. If someone is working over harmful equipment or machinery, fall protections must be provided regardless of the height.
Knowing the safety standards regulated by OSHA on handling holes at the construction site is essential. These standards were set for the sole purpose of keeping workers safe from harm. Companies that fail to follow these standards put the lives of their employees at risk due to negligence.
To keep workers safe, employers must follow these OSHA guidelines:
- Offering protection by guarding every hole, typically with a floor hole cover, toe-board, and railing
- Using highly visible signs warning of falling dangers
- Providing toe boards and guard rails for every open-sided platform that is off the ground
- Providing toe boards and guardrails where someone is working above equipment or machines
- Requiring the use of safety harnesses, lines, nets, and railings where needed for additional safety
- Ensuring a work environment is free of any known dangers
- Keeping every work area clean and as dry as possible
- Providing any extra safety equipment for free to their workers
- Training workers about potential hazards and how to use safety equipment
Common Construction Site Accidents
Many construction site accidents result from employers or workers being negligent while on site. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to sue that party for compensation.
The most common types of negligent construction accidents involve:
- OSHA violations
- MSHA violations
- Safety violations
- Poor lighting
- Inadequate training
- Machinery accidents
- Scaffolding accidents
- Forklift accident
Most of these listed above are preventable situations. Unfortunately, these can lead to workers falling through a hole in the floor by not following mandatory guidelines. For example, poor lighting in an area with a hole can make it easy for an employee not to spot it. The fact that employers did not protect it with barriers would be an OSHA violation.
If your employer’s negligence has injured you, call Hill & Moin today. You may be able to be compensated for your injuries.
Types of Construction Accident Claims
If you have fallen through a hole in construction site flooring and are now injured, you may face a long recovery. If you want to sue your negligent employer for damages, some options are available.
Workers’ compensation claims
All New York business owners are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. They can get this insurance from the New York State Insurance fund, a private carrier, or even insure themselves. A business owner must prove he has workers’ compensation insurance before receiving permits to begin work.
Work comp insurance protects the employer from paying a substantial amount that could bankrupt the company. The worker must prove the injury occurred on the job to get damages.
If you are an undocumented worker, you also have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. You do not have to worry about losing your job or being deported if you file. You are still protected by New York state law.
Personal injury lawsuits
Personal injury lawsuits are more common if a worker and the insurance adjuster do not agree on a compensation amount. Many times, the insurance company may offer a lowball settlement that does not cover all your needs. They may even refuse to budge off the number they have in mind. A lawsuit may be the only way to pursue every dollar you should get after being severely injured.
Product liability lawsuits
If a defective product caused your injury, you might be able to sue the manufacturer of that product. This would be the case if the flooring was rated for a certain weight and you fell through. Or maybe a product you were using suddenly malfunctioned and broke a hole through the platform. In these cases, you can probably file a product liability lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims
If you lost a loved one in or after a fall at a construction site, you could file a wrongful death claim. Companies have a responsibility to keep their workers safe from harm. No one deserves to die while working hard at the job site. It is even worse when that death was caused by the negligence of a person’s employer.
You can be compensated for this injustice. A wrongful death claim can help you cover medical bills incurred by your loved one’s injuries, funeral expenses, and other related financial burdens.
Injuries Caused by Holes in Construction Site Flooring
Due to the nature of construction work, it is a given that some injuries will take place eventually. While most can be described as minor cuts and bruises, worse conditions can develop. Severe injuries or illnesses can keep someone away from work for long periods or even prevent the person from ever working in the same capacity again.
Common injuries found in construction site falling accidents can include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Broken bones
- Loss of eye
- Loss of fingers
- Crushing injuries
- Nerve damage
- Disc injuries
What to Do After a Construction Site Accident?
While few people go to work expecting injury, preparing for anything that might happen is vital. You are responsible for your own actions which can keep you safe and help your case should you file for compensation.
After falling through a hole at a construction site, you can:
- Yell for help if you are alone
- Call 911 if you are able
- Collect information from witnesses
- Seek medical treatment, even if you feel okay
- Report the accident to your employer
- Take as many photos of the accident site as possible
- Find out whether there are any security cameras in the area
Call Hill & Moin Today to Make a Claim
Before you take on the insurance company or file any compensation claim, call Hill & Moin right away. You should never attempt to handle the compensation process on your own. Having an experienced attorney by your side can make all the difference in how much compensation you receive.
Why not reach out to us and gain peace of mind? We will treat you like family every step of the way, as some clients have told us. Our clients also trust our ability to negotiate a fair settlement on their behalf.
Why? Our clients can be confident that we will not settle for lowball offers from anyone. Our knowledgeable team of New York attorneys will know exactly how much your claim is worth and can fight for every dollar. You deserve nothing less than the best legal representation available today.
Call Hill & Moin at (212) 668-6000 for a free case evaluation and learn about all the Personal Injury Recovery SolutionsⓇ at your disposal. There is no fee unless you win.
Don’t wonder about your rights!