Each year, roughly one million emergency room trips are made in New York and elsewhere in America due to serious indoor fall accidents. Countless other fall injuries occur annually in many outdoor settings like construction sites. Since injured plaintiffs often suffer traumatic brain injuries, major bone fractures, paralysis, and serious spinal cord damage, it is crucial for all of us to try and prevent these types of accidents from occurring in the first place.
What follows is a look at the specific places where these types of injuries often happen and the type of legal evidence your Bronx slip and fall lawyer may need to use if a premises liability lawsuit is also filed on your behalf. Finally, a list of safety measures is also provided that may help property owners and construction job supervisors proactively prevent fall dangers.
Frequent causes of slip and fall accidents in the Bronx – and places where they often occur
Stores and restaurants.
Owners or managers of these types of properties have a duty to provide a safe environment to minimize all fall injuries. At least one employee should regularly walk around all grocery stores and restaurants, looking for new fall hazards.
Poorly lit staircases.
When construction workers are building or renovating stairways, supervisors must make sure that proper lighting is always available – and being used.
Worksite debris and clutter.
There should always be at least one shift manager or employee constantly walking the grounds while construction projects are going on, making sure all building materials and tools are stored properly — and not left lying around where they can cause dangerous slips and falls.
Ditches and potholes.
Even during the early stages of erecting a building, newly paved, surrounding streets in the area can easily develop potholes. Care must be taken to properly fill in these fall hazards before someone suffers serious injuries. Ditches must be properly covered when not being used.
When workers are in the process of installing or renovating a building’s flooring, they must keep the floor surfaces evenly flat and free of all loose materials — or liquids that could cause slip and fall accidents.
Slippery, wet, or icy floors.
Whenever there is rainy or icy weather, a construction supervisor must have adequate rubber (or other sturdy) mats on hand to cover such surfaces immediately — after mopping up any liquids.
Uneven sidewalks and walking paths.
All construction site managers and supervisors must be prepared to regularly resurface all areas where workers and property visitors may be walking to prevent serious accident injuries.
Beyond worker’s compensation slip and fall claims: premises liability lawsuits
While individual employees always have the right to file a worker’s compensation claim for injuries suffered while completing assigned tasks — if the property owner or manager was also negligent — a civil lawsuit based on premises liability law may also be filed. This frequently occurs when property owners or construction site supervisors violate OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) safety standards.
A duty to provide safety existed and was violated.Since property owners have a duty to provide a safe environment for all workers, subcontractors, and others lawfully present on their premises, cases are sometimes filed alleging that they failed to honor that duty – and one or more plaintiffs directly suffered injuries due to that negligence.
A “reasonably prudent” owner of the property – or a construction site supervisor, should have done more to prevent an accident from happening.
Irresponsibility by the property owner or job supervisor.Evidence must be convincingly presented, indicating that the property owner or another appropriate defendant either knew about the safety problem that caused an accident injury – or should have known about it. Workplace supervisors are aware that they should regularly have a responsible party walk around their construction site throughout the day, looking for unexpected dangers. All discovered hazards must be removed in a timely manner.
Inadequate warning signs were posted in the area where a worker suffered a serious injury.Unfortunately, everyone loses when an unnecessary slip and fall accident occurs. The worker suffers physical (and sometimes cognitive) injuries, the employer loses a reliable employee (at least temporarily), and society must often bear the cumulative loss of construction site worker productivity.
Premise liability defendants often claim the person harmed was contributorily negligent.In a nutshell, this simply means the defendant will try to pass part of the blame on to the injured party (or victim). If this happens, the injured party can still usually recover some or all their financial damages – unless a court decides that the plaintiff was far more negligent than the property owner. For example, if your employer told you to climb down from where you were working on a construction site because it has begun to rain – and you insisted on doing more work (right before suffering a bad slip and fall injury), your chances of recovery may be limited. However, if you can prove that you only remained on the work site long enough to safely put away your tools, you may fare better in a premise liability lawsuit.
In 2021, at least 320 falls on construction sites proved fatal. All such deaths are usually preventable.
Adequate safety training for all employees is crucial. Every worker must be required to undergo additional training when assigned to do new, unfamiliar tasks. All employees should be required to review basic OSHA safety precautions at least once a year.
Employers must provide their workers with the best quality of personal protective equipment that they can afford. OSHA has strict standards that are designed to prevent the majority of fall-related accidents.
Before work starts each day, all scaffolding must be examined for any loose or missing parts.
Harnesses and nets should be readily used.
No employee should be allowed to enter the work site when not wearing proper clothing, boots, gloves, and a hard hat or helmet.
There must be zero tolerance for alcohol and drug abuse among workers. Anyone suspected of arriving to work “under the influence” must either be checked out by a doctor or sent home.
All construction workers must know what retractable lanyards, rope grabs, butterfly anchors, beam straps, and beamers are so they can try and remain safe.
Ladder safety skills must be taught regularly. At the start of each day, all workers must be required to check the parts on each ladder they will be using – before climbing up on it.
Outfitting workers with some type of safety alarm can prove crucial when bad falls occur. Employers should invest in some type of body alarm that a conscious, injured worker can turn on after suffering a bad fall. This type of alarm can also be set off after the injured worker is found – possibly unconscious.
Brief meetings should be attended by all workers after any new serious falls occur. It is also best to hold weekly safety meetings. These allow job supervisors and managers to remind all workers of the safety violations the bosses are seeing that must stop right away. Likewise, all construction employees must be told that they have the right to file a complaint with OSHA if reported workplace dangers are not corrected immediately.