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When construction workers fall: CDC stats about a safety epidemic

Among its many functions, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researches and offers statistics on occupational injuries affecting construction workers. The agency is charged with identifying health risk trends and helping to improve the lives of Americans. When it comes to workers who are hurt and killed because of falls on the job, the stats are staggering.

According to the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nearly 10 million people worked in the American construction industry in 2016 -- that's about three percent of the total population. If you or someone you love works construction, it is important to understand the importance of vigilant safety awareness and to know the causes of common injuries.

Thousands of workers fall each year

In New York City, dozens of workers die each year, many of them from falls; most of these deaths can be attributed to a lack of concern for worker safety on the part of builders and contractors. But the CDC's national statistics include much bigger national numbers:

  • Of 1,533 studied fall deaths that occurred between 2011 and 2015, 33% involved falls from roofs, 24% were caused by falls from ladders, and 15% were falls from scaffolding.
  • In 2010 alone, there were more than 18,000 falls on construction sites.
  • Laborers, roofers and iron workers are listed as among the most vulnerable to falls.
  • Falls from the same level (such as trip-and-fall and slip-and-fall incidents) also can be dangerous and disruptive. Falls that don't involve heights cause about 40% of all non-fatal fall injuries.

What to do if you or your family member is hurt

A fall can be a life-changing event for a worker and their loved ones. If your family has been affected by a fall on a construction site, get legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you protect your legal rights, which might include the right to money damages for your injuries and losses.

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  • $2.1 million settlement

    for 33-year old electrician who fell from ladder while attempting to fit heavy cable into crown box when cable sprung back and struck him, causing him to suffer left shoulder injury with impingement.

  • $1.6 million settlement

    for 38-year old electrician who slipped and fell on debris on stairway with resulting cervical herniated disc and aggravation of pre-existing arthritic changes.

  • $2.55 million settlement

    for 42-year old electrician who fell into an uncovered, unprotected hole and suffered a severe low back injury with herniated disc(s) that required surgery at L4-5 and L5-S1 levels.

  • $1.75 million settlement

    for 26-year old construction worker who fell through opening in roof and fractured his wrist, requiring surgery with open reduction and internal fixation, external fixation device, and eventual fusion.

  • $2.5 million settlement

    for 38-year old female electrician (with history of prior neck injury) who tripped on uneven Masonite protective floor covering, and suffered neck injury with herniated discs requiring cervical fusion.

  • $1.2 million settlement

    during trial for 40-year old sheet metal worker who was struck in the neck and shoulder by an air conditioning unit and suffered herniated cervical discs and cervical radiculopathy.

*AV Preeminent is the highest rating of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

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