3 Construction Fall Hazards

May 8, 2018 Construction Site Accidents

Year after year, falls remain one of the top causes of death on construction sites across the nation. According to

Construction workers on construction siteYear after year, falls remain one of the top causes of death on construction sites across the nation. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), from 2003 through 2013, falls were responsible for more than 3,500 workplace deaths in the industry. During this decade, falls from rooftops accounted for nearly 35 percent of all construction worker fatalities. The real tragedy in this figure is that most of these deaths are preventable with proper training, the right equipment and planning.

In 2016 alone, 360 construction workers fell to their death while on the job. It is no surprise then, that falls are one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four” – the principle safety hazards that account for the lion’s share of construction worker deaths. The Fatal Four, which include falls, electrocutions, struck-by accidents and getting caught in-between incidents, are responsible for more than 67 percent of all reported deaths in the construction industry.

Occupational fatalities caused by falls

Fall hazards are prevalent at all construction sites and are defined as any factor that can cause a worker to lose their balance or support resulting in a fall. Any time you are working at heights more than four feet, you are at risk for a serious fall-related injury. OSHA mandates that fall protection must be furnished when working at 6 feet in the construction industry, or in environments where one is working above heavy equipment or dangerous machinery.

Major types of fall hazards in construction

What are the most prevalent fall hazards in construction? Anecdotal evidence and accident reports have shown these to be the biggest culprits:

#1: Unprotected roofs, roof edges and leading edges on structural steel.

Example provided by OSHA: An iron worker standing on a concrete wall fell 30 feet to the ground and suffered spinal injuries resulting in paralysis below the chest. He was wearing a harness at the time, but was not tied in.

#2: Improper scaffold construction.

Example: A worker preparing to remove masonry fascia from a build site fell from the third level of a welded-frame scaffold. There was no guarding system on the scaffold. And the surface was coated in ice, making it extra slippery. 

#3: Dangerous portable ladders.

Falls from unsecure ladders result in 100 deaths annually. Example: A worker fell 12 feet from an unsecured 24-foot extension ladder, which he had leaned against the façade board of a building wall. He suffered leg fracture injuries and was hospitalized for over a week.

Employer responsibility

Construction workers must be provided with proper training on how to identify fall hazards, whether working on scaffolds, ladders, or other building structures more than 6 feet in height. Employers are obligated to follow OSHA regulations by providing:

  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)/Personal Fall Arrest System
  • Ensuring portable ladders and scaffolds are properly used and in good condition
  • Performing routine worksite equipment inspections
  • Training on the use of fall protection equipment

Legal recourse for victims

When employers fail to ensure their workers have the right training and fall protection equipment, catastrophic injuries often result. OSHA’s regulations are in place to help minimize needless injuries and deaths and create a safe working environment.

The Salamati Law Firm is well-versed in the various hazards common to the construction industry. When negligence plays a role in serious personal injury, victims deserve an advocate who will fight for their rights to fair compensation.

To schedule a complimentary case review with a skilled construction accident lawyer Los Angeles residents have come to trust, call our offices today at 1-855-583-6837.

Additional Resources on Construction Fall Hazards:

  1. Construction Connect, Avoiding OSHA’s Fatal Four – Fall Hazards https://www.constructconnect.com/blog/construction-safety/avoiding-oshas-fatal-four-fall-hazards/
  2. Safety and Health Magazine, Falls in construction: A deadly hazard http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/14832-falls-in-construction-a-deadly-hazard
  3. OSHA, Fall Hazards https://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/construction/focus_four/falls/falls_ig.pdf
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4 Little-Known Construction Site Injuries

January 11, 2018 Construction Site Accidents

Construction sites can be hazardous places. Workers are often performing tasks at high elevations, with equipment that can be dangerous.

Construction workers operating jackhammersConstruction sites can be hazardous places. Workers are often performing tasks at high elevations, with equipment that can be dangerous. Many construction risks, such as falling from a height without being restrained by proper safety equipment, are well-known by both construction workers and the general public. But others are not so well-known.

Here are 4 construction site injuries that you may not be aware of.

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is the result of damage to the fingers, hands, and arms caused by working with vibrating tools or machinery, such as jackhammers. HAVS can cause neurological symptoms, vascular symptoms, or musculoskeletal symptoms, or a combination of all three.

Neurological symptoms manifest as tingling, or numb hands or fingers. Long term, this can cause permanent damage. Patients might have difficulty with common hand functions, like using keys. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of neurological HAVS.

Vascular symptoms affect the small blood vessels and cause them to constrict. Sufferers may notice that their fingers turn white or blue and become numb.

Musculoskeletal symptoms can include arthritis and tendonitis. Sufferers may not be able to grip as well as they used to, and may suffer pain in their arm or hand.

Hearing Loss

Construction sites are noisy. Jackhammers, excavation machinery, and other heavy equipment can be very loud. Some construction workers may be around as older buildings are dynamited, so that new construction can be built. Dynamiting is extremely loud.

As a result, hearing loss is common among construction workers. Safety equipment, such as protective ear plugs, should always be worn. Unfortunately, however, these are not always sufficient to prevent hearing loss.

Brain Lesions

Electrocution causes 1,000 deaths each year in the United States, on average. Electrocution on construction sites can result from contact with exposed wiring, faulty handling of electrical appliances, coming into contact with power lines, or accidents involving electrical outlets.

Electrocution can be fatal, or if not, can cause extensive physical injuries, including amputation of limbs and affected tissue.

Electrocution can also cause lesions to form on either brain tissue or the spinal cord. These can result in cerebellar disorders, spinal muscular atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, or sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Electrocution can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. While all construction site injuries can cause stress, electrocution is particularly traumatic, and the psychological effects can be as severe as the physical injury. PTSD can affect one’s ability to concentrate, focus, and remember things.

When You Need a Construction Site Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

Construction site accidents cause serious harm and even death every year to hard-working individuals who deserve better. Construction accidents can affect the ability of workers to ever work again, and can affect their health and quality of life for the rest of their lives.

If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job in southern California, please call Los Angeles construction accident attorney Sean Salamati today. There will be no charge to you for an initial consultation. We charge no fees unless we win money for you!

Additional “Construction Site Injury” Resources:

  1. Alcumus Group. Top Ten Health and Safety Risks in Construction. https://www.alcumusgroup.com/blog/october-2014/top-ten-health-and-safety-risks-in-construction
  2. Electrical Injury. Chicago Electrical Trauma Rehabilitation Institute. https://www.cetri.org/electrical_injury.html
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3 Exciting New Building Projects in Los Angeles

January 9, 2018 Construction Site Accidents

Downtown Los Angeles is experiencing one of its biggest construction booms in decades, thanks to a surge of foreign investment.

Downtown Cityscape Los Angeles, California, USADowntown Los Angeles is experiencing one of its biggest construction booms in decades, thanks to a surge of foreign investment. According to the LA Times, the number of building projects currently underway is the most the downtown area has seen since the 1920’s. Nearly 80 developments totaling 50,000 square feet or larger have gone up since 2010, or are in the process of being completed. Unlike the construction boom of the 70s and 80s, this expansion is more varied, with fewer corporate buildings and more retail and residential developments.

As the LA skyline continues to change and reach ever taller, let’s take a look at three construction projects that are making headlines.

$1.2 Billion Transit-Oriented Development at Angels Landing

As of last month, Angels Landing Partners LLC was chosen by the LA City Council to head up the development of a 2-acre plot at Fourth and Hill Streets – the Angels Landing site. With an estimated budget of $1.2 billion, the team aims to erect two mammoth towers, one that is slated to be the tallest residential building (at 1,000 feet) in the entire western U.S. The mixed-use development will include 425 apartments, 250 condos, two hotels, retail and restaurant space of almost 45,000 sq. feet and an elementary school. The development will feature a communal gathering space for outdoor events, and a small food hall for local businesses. Completion is expected in 2024.

$100 Million Outdoor Mall at Long Beach

The old SeaPort Marina Hotel is being razed to make room for a new 220,000-square-foot coastal mall in Southeast Long Beach. According to Mayor Robert Garcia the mall will help revitalize one of the most important sites in Long Beach, bridging both Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Developers say that 1/3 of the space will be dedicated to chef-driven bistros, with the hopes of luring residents, not tourists. There will be a Whole Foods market, outdoor roof decks and plenty of casual eateries for waterfront dining. The Long Beach mall is slated to open its doors in Spring of 2019.

New Tower Planned for Hilton LA/Universal City

The owner of the Hilton Los Angeles wants to build a second $100-million tower to the hotel, with 365 rooms, a full-service spa and a rooftop restaurant. The expansion would help accommodate the increasing numbers of visitors to the Universal Studios Hollywood film studio and theme park. The building application with the city will require an environmental impact report on the project’s effects. If approved, the second tower could be completed as early as 2022.

Legal advocacy in Los Angeles

The construction boom is good news for the economy, bringing added jobs and an influx of money to the city. However, a rash of building projects come with their own set of hazards when worker safety is not made a priority. Every year, dozens of workers in California are subject to grueling injuries or even death because of negligent training and supervision, or lack of proper safety equipment.

When safety measures at job sites are inadequate and someone gets hurt, you need a competent attorney to protect your rights. Sean Salamati is an experienced construction accident lawyer serving Los Angeles & the greater metropolitan area. Call today for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources:

  1. LA Times, Universal Hilton plans new tower as tourists flock to Harry Potter’s wizard world http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-universal-hilton-expansion-20171220-story.html
  2. LA Times, $100-million outdoor coastal mall replacing obsolete Long Beach hotel http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pch-center-development-2017126-story.html
  3. Boston RealEstate Times, Tallest Building in Western US to be Built by 100% Minority Group’s $1.2 Billion Development http://bostonrealestatetimes.com/tallest-building-in-western-us-to-be-built-by-100-minority-groups-1-2-billion-development-after-unanimous-selection-by-la-city-council/
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