On a construction site, workers are constantly climbing up and down ladders. As the construction progresses, the structure gets higher as well as wider. Ladders are often used to reach the upper heights during the construction phase before the interior is built including stairs. Unfortunately, falls from a ladder or scaffolding is one of the biggest risks and injuries a construction worker will face. The ladder can slip, shift, break or slide out from under you causing you to fall from dangerous heights.
Along with construction workers, other tradesman use ladders too. Anyone who is required to use a ladder in the course of their work needs to be able to reach their work zone safely without worrying about injury from negligence or employer recklessness.
A ladder that falls or collapses can result in the worker plunging to the ground and sustaining a serious injury. Serious injury could be a broken extremity, spinal injury, head trauma or brain damage. The injuries could lead to long-term consequences that result in a person becoming a paraplegic or serious neurological damage. It might even result in death. This is why there are serious labor laws in the state to protect workers.
There’s a section of New York Labor Law that gives special protection to construction crews and workers who find themselves at high heights during their work duties. Thousands of workers are injured and lose their lives due to ladder falls. Section 240 of the labor law says that workers must be given braces, ropes, slings and other safety equipment to perform on ladders. They should be provided with harnesses too.
Along with the section of the labor law, OSHA has rules as well.
- Ladders and scaffolds should not be loaded with items that exceed the weight limits.
- Ladders must be maintained in a safe condition.
- Ladders shouldn’t be placed on scaffolds. They need to be anchored on safe, secure footing that won’t settle or slip.
- Weak or damaged ladders should be repaired immediately. They shouldn’t be used until fixed or replaced.
- Employees should receive safety training.
What to do After a Fall
After a serious fall from a ladder, you should be seeking immediate medical attention. Workers who fall from ladders might have their ability to work compromised. You should be visiting with a lawyer to find out if your employer is responsible.
Let your employer know about the incident as soon as possible. While you want to see a doctor first, call or talk to your employer after you’ve been treated for your initial injuries.
- Seek medical aid
- Inform your employer
- Make an appointment for a consultation
Employer or Employee Responsibility
If a person slips off the ladder because they’re being hasty, or they aren’t using it correctly, then it’s likely that they might not be able to get compensation for their injury. It also depends on other circumstances. You won’t know if you have a case until you consult with an expert in this area of law. Your employer might not have been using the right safety procedures or have left the ladder unsecured, which caused the fall.
Your employer might have been using the wrong ladder for the job site. There are weight limits and restrictions on ladders, and if you’re carrying materials up the ladder, it might have exceeded the maximum load. This can lead to shifting and the ladder slipping, which can cause falls.
You should be checking your ladder prior to using it on the job. There are some instances where the worker has to take full responsibility for negligence. The ladder should never be used in front of a door. It shouldn’t be used if the braces are worn or missing. It should be on a level surface, and the worker shouldn’t be standing on the top rung.
It’ll be difficult to determine liability until you meet with a lawyer and explain the circumstances surrounding your fall. An expert in falls and construction accidents will be able to determine who was at fault and help you receive compensation that can be put towards medical bills and lost wages.