Since the 1980s, falls from heights on construction sites have been the one of the most common causes—and in some case the most common cause—of death and catastrophic injuries among workers. Still, it may shock you to learn that more than half of those who died in these falls were not using personal fall arrest equipment, such as a harness and deceleration device, to reduce the chances of a hard and devastating landing.
Having access to essential safety equipment is only part of what is necessary for your protection on the job. Your Illinois employer is responsible for your safety, including ensuring your equipment is in good condition, that it is appropriate for the work you do and that you receive proper training on how to use it.
What is your life worth?
The National Safety Council estimates that every dollar a contractor or project owner spends on preventing accidents and injuries translates to as much as $6 worth of productivity, employee retention and other positive factors. Nevertheless, some employers seem reluctant to spend even the small amount required to provide protective equipment for those who risk their lives working at heights.
This does not necessarily mean only those who are far off the ground. Even a fall from only six feet can endanger your life if you strike other objects as you fall or land the wrong way. However, the higher you are, the more likely your injuries will be life-threatening if you fall. Falling from a height greater than 30 feet gives you very little chances of survival.
The consequences of a fall
The kinds of injuries that result from a construction site fall can include brain trauma, spinal cord injuries and damage to internal organs. Any of these may leave you with permanent deficits, impair your ability to work and even shorten your life expectancy. These are high stakes for an employer to play with by not providing the equipment or training you need to do your job safely.
If you have suffered injuries in a construction site fall or if you have lost a loved one in an accident on the job, you may be searching for answers to your questions. Most pressing may be the questions of who was responsible and how you might hold them accountable. By discussing your situation with a skilled attorney, you may learn the answers to those questions and the most appropriate next step to take to move forward with your life.