Claiming Maximum Benefits for Workers Injured in Falls from Heights

A Leading Contributor to Construction Worker Injuries and Deaths

Pennsylvania workers in various industries are at risk of suffering injuries due to accidents involving falls from heights. This type of workplace accident continues to be one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) top four most common causes of construction worker deaths.

The experienced workers’ comp lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. are dedicated to fighting on behalf of all types of workers injured due to falls from heights and helping them obtain compensation for their injuries.

Common Causes of Falls from Heights

Under the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers have a duty to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces, free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death. Employers must also follow OSHA regulations and safety requirements pertaining to fall protection.

However, falls from heights remain common in many workplaces and can be caused by various factors, including:

Unsafe ladders, scaffolding, and other platforms: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that an average of 60 workers are killed and 4,500 are injured in scaffolding accidents each year. It is one of the most commonly cited OSHA safety violations, and these types of accidents are particularly common in the construction industry. According to OSHA, falls from heights of six to 15 feet accounted for approximately 25 percent of all fatal falls in one year.

Worn out, malfunctioning or nonexistent safety equipment: Requirements vary by industry, but all those performing work at heights should have some form of fall protection. Types of fall protection systems include guardrails, safety nets, personal fall arrest systems, and warning line systems.

Employers should follow OSHA’s fall protection systems criteria and practices according to their industry, and perform regular, thorough maintenance on all equipment.

Weather conditions: Those who work on roofs during the winter are at increased risk of suffering injuries due to slips and falls from heights because of slippery conditions. To safeguard workers who clear snow from roofs or perform roof work during inclement weather, employers must develop safe snow and ice removal plans.

Employees should also take safety precautions such as wearing water-resistant boots with rubber treads and walking slowly across icy surfaces.

Injuries Due to Falls from Heights

Injuries from this type of workplace accident vary in type and severity, depending on the distance of the fall, how the worker landed, and other factors.

Some common injuries resulting from falls from heights our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers have seen include:

  • Back, neck and shoulder injuries
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Disfigurement
  • Fatal injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Sprains, strains, fractures and broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions

Workers’ Compensation for Falling Injuries

In Pennsylvania, most workers may collect workers’ compensation benefits for workplace injuries or occupational illnesses. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, a worker must notify his or her employer within 120 days of the accident.

Workers’ compensation benefits include reasonable and necessary medical expenses, partial compensation for lost wages, and other types of compensation depending on the type of injury, such as permanent or temporary disability, vocational rehabilitation, specific loss, and death benefits.

If someone other than the worker’s employer caused the accident, such as a subcontractor who provided faulty equipment, or the manufacturer of a faulty piece of equipment, the worker may be eligible for additional forms of compensation through a third-party claim.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Compensation for Falls From Heights Injuries

If you were injured in a fall from heights accident at work, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We can help you evaluate your legal options to ensure maximum recovery. Our experienced attorneys have represented clients for over 40 years. Please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW for a free consultation.

We proudly represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.

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Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Workers who fall from heights can suffer serious, sometimes fatal injuries. Falls have remained one of the “fatal four” most common causes of construction worker deaths, along with being struck by an object, electrocutions and being caught in/between objects.

Injuries Caused by Falls from Heights

According to OSHA, those who work at elevations of six feet or higher are at risk of death if they fall. A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study found that falls accounted for 14 percent of all worker fatalities over an 11-year period. When falls do not prove fatal, workers may suffer serious injuries including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Internal bleeding/organ damage

OSHA Requirements

OSHA requires employers to ensure that their workplaces are free from known dangers and to provide fall protection for workers in certain industries who are working at certain elevations. For example, employers must provide fall protection at elevations of four feet for general industry workers, five feet for shipyard workers, six feet for construction workers and eight feet for longshoremen.

Types of fall protection vary according to industry, but typically includes guardrails, toe-boards, safety nets, safety harnesses, hand rails, fall arrest systems and covers for floor holes. Employees should also take safety precautions when using portable ladders and when working on scaffolding; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 60 deaths and 4,500 injuries per year are attributable to scaffolding accidents.

Preventing Falls from Heights

OSHA has partnered with NIOSH and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) on the Fall Prevention Campaign to raise awareness and encourage employers to prevent falls at work. Employers are required to comply with various OSHA standards including:

  • Developing and implementing a fall protection program
  • Providing training
  • Educating workers about fall hazards

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Falls from Heights

Workers who are injured when they fall from heights may be entitled to workers’ compensation under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Workers’ compensation benefits include payments for reasonable and necessary medical expenses and payments to help compensate for lost wages. Other types of workers’ compensation benefits include:

Permanent disability– Injured workers who can perform light duty work may receive permanent partial disability.

Temporary disability– Injured workers who are unable to work at all may receive permanent total disability.

Vocational rehabilitation– Injured workers may also receive vocational rehabilitation benefits to help them reenter the workforce.

Specific loss– Workers who suffered severe injuries such an amputation or disfigurement may be entitled to specific loss lump sum benefits.

Death benefits– Families of workers who die as a result of their workplace injury may collect death benefits, including up to $3,000 in funeral expenses.

Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Workers Injured in Falls from Heights

If you or your loved one was injured in a fall from heights at work, contact a skilled Philadelphia work injury lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. to arrange a free consultation. Call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.

We represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum LynneDarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssingtonFolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztownLansdowneMediaMerion StationMortonNarberthNorristownNorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect ParkQuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper DarbyWest Chester, and Wynnewood.

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