American Bar Association
American Association for Justice
The Florida Bar 1950
Florida Justice Association

Falls are the Real Danger on Construction Sites

There are plenty of ways to get hurt when you are doing construction. On a daily basis, workers deal with nail guns, backhoes, forklifts, jackhammers and bulldozers. There are saws, hammers, arc welders and chemicals of all sorts. And while all these tools and machines might make some of the physical labor easier, construction is still very physical work. Broken arms and legs, gashes that require stitches, thrown out backs and sprains are all part of the job.

But despite all these technological advances, despite all the heavy and dangerous machinery that deals with force, flame and chemicals, the most dangerous thing facing your average construction worker is gravity.

Falls are the most common form of construction accidents, which isn’t surprising considering that a great deal of construction takes place quite a few stories above street level. There is even danger before a project literally gets off the ground, as even a foundation for a house can go down to fifteen feet, to say nothing of the enormous pits that are built when a skyscraper is being built. If you consider that a fall from even two feet can prove fatal, fall prevention is the most important aspect of construction safety.

While workers have fallen off of surfaces of every description, the most common falls occur from roofs, floors, or openings in falls or roofs. Any construction worker can tell you that practically any jobsite is loaded with holes of every size and description, and these are some of the most dangerous spots on the job.

Quite often, these holes are merely covered with a piece of plywood, which is eventually taken by a worker who needs it. Another worker (who is by now used to stepping on this plywood without so much as a second thought) walks over where the plywood used to be and falls.

Many falls also occur on smaller jobsites, where the contractor thinks that the job is small enough, low enough or able to be completed quick enough so that safety concerns are either not necessary or a waste of valuable time.

Ladder falls are also a common and sometimes fatal occurrence, with falls either happening because the ladder was not secured properly into the ground or because the person on it did not have the proper three point contact while he was on it. At times this can be because the worker knew the best way to climb up and down the ladder and but chose to ignore his training, but on occasion these falls occur because the worker was not given adequate safety training.

The obvious way to prevent most falls is with guardrails, covers that are permanent until they don’t need to be, and safety harnesses with fall arrest systems as mandatory as hard hats and safety goggles. And if this were a perfect world, that’s how it would work. But as many of our injured clients can tell you, the world is far from perfect.

At Klemick and Gampel, we have decades of experience in dealing with the insurance companies that are hired by contractors, and we are pretty familiar with how construction insurers work. They don’t want to hear about the extent of the injuries. They don’t want to hear about how the injured victim might not be able to go back to work again. They don’t want to hear about any negligence on the part of the contractor, subcontractor or foreman. They don’t want to hear about safety violations. What they want is for the guy that got injured to take a check as soon as possible and disappear.

We know that isn’t fair. We also know that nine times out of ten the check that insurers offer injury victims is barely enough to cover the medical costs, and most certainly won’t realistically see you through your recovery time. It’s our job to see to it that you get a settlement that will take into account every aspect of your injury and recovery. What is “convenient” for the insurance companies is not our concern at all.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident in Miami, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, Hollywood or anywhere in South Florida, contact Klemick and Gampel today.

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