Ladder falls and accidents are nearly 100% preventable if construction workers are given proper equipment and are properly trained on ladder safety, as well as how to spot ladder defects. Unfortunately, equipment and training are often lacking.
Syracuse, New York (PRWEB) August 27, 2011
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, current regulations properly address "stairway and ladder hazards." However, Syracuse construction accidents continue to occur when step ladders, extension ladders, job-made ladders, aluminum ladders, and single- or double-cleat ladders tip, slide, or break and workers fall to the ground. According to Syracuse ladder fall lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC, "if OSHA regulations are adequate, then property owner and general contractor compliance with OSHA regulations seems to be a problem."
By rough estimate, almost 25,000 workers are injured each year due to falls from surfaces covered by OSHA Subpart X, a series of regulations which govern ladder and stairway safety to ensure that property owners and general contractors provide construction workers with equipment and training necessary to do their jobs safely.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study of 1,400 ladder accidents that resulted in injuries, approximately 23% of the accidents were in construction. 19% of the ladders involved in the accidents had one or more defects. 4% of the ladders did not have uniformly spaced steps. Ladder accidents often result in spinal cord and/or brain injuries. More than 30 deaths are reported annually. Ladder and stairway falls also result in just under 12,000 missed workdays every year.
"Workers on tall ladders need more protection," said Bottar. Pursuant to 29 C.F.R. 1926.1053, where the total length of a climb on a fixed ladder is equal to or greater than 24 feet, the ladder must be equipped with (1) a safety device, or (2) a self-retracting life line and resting platforms, or (3) the ladder must be caged. Ladders also need to be tied-off, properly angled, and should extend at least 3 feet above the landing surface. In some situations, the use of a ladder requires a spotter. "Despite OSHA and New York Labor Laws, many property owners and general contractors continue to ignore safety at the expense of their workforce. It's our job to hold these individuals and companies accountable."
In New York State, if a ladder is not equipped with appropriate safety devices and a worker is injured, the property owner and the general contractor may be liable under the "Labor Law" - a set of statutes that give workers special rights to recover compensation for injuries, lost wages and permanent disabilities caused by, e.g., a fall from a height. "In the past six months we have represented two Syracuse construction workers who were injured due to falls from a surfaces covered by OSHA Subpart X. One worker, an electrician, was in his 20s when he fell and will never return to his profession. Some people are never the same after a fall from a height."
Bottar Leone, PLLC, was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Reports as a First Tier personal injury law firm. With offices in Syracuse, Utica, Albany and Binghamton, the firm has, since 1983, limited its practice to serving the victims of negligence and malpractice throughout the State of New York.
Bottar Leone, PLLC
1600 AXA Tower II
120 Madison Street
Syracuse, NY 13202