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Construction falls can happen at ground level, too

Nov 29, 2021 | Construction Accidents

You probably know working at heights on a construction site can be dangerous. Yet, you might not have considered that falling while on the ground can also have serious consequences.

Last month, a security worker at an Aurora strip mall found that out the hard way. The man was working in a part of the mall that was undergoing construction work. Unfortunately, he fell 15 feet into a hole dug by utility workers and suffered lower extremity injuries. It took rescuers two hours to get him out of the hole before they could evacuate him to the hospital.

Foot or leg injuries are the minimum you can expect if you fall down a hole. Even those could have a significant impact on your ability to work or carry out your daily life. Construction site fall injuries could be much worse, depending on how far you drop, what you land on, and how you land. Should you get injured on a jobsite, you have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries.

What must employers do to prevent employees from falling into holes?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides employers with guidelines to prevent injuries to workers. They state that employers must “guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk.” They give two ways to do this:

  • Close the hole: You cannot fall into a covered hole, provided the cover is in good condition and of the correct size. If an employer needs to remove a hole cover for access, they need to ensure no one can fall in while it is open, then secure the cover once they have finished.
  • Erect railings and toe-guards: These act in two ways. They signal the hole so workers know it is there, and they provide a physical barrier to prevent anyone from tripping, falling or getting knocked into it.

Foot or leg injuries are the minimum you can expect if you fall down a hole. Even those could have a significant impact on your ability to work or carry out your daily life. Construction site fall injuries could be much worse, depending on how far you drop, what you land on, and how you land. Your employer has a duty to keep you safe. You have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits if they do not.

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