Preventing falls on Chicago construction sites

While winter may be a time when residents of Chicago do not see much construction work going on, in fact construction work can be a year-long activity. It is also a very dangerous activity, especially when the proper safety precautions are not taken.

One common type of construction accident is falls from heights. It is partly up to employers to ensure that their workers are safe from falls from holes, higher elevations or overhead platforms. When it comes to the construction industry, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration requires that employers provide employees with fall protections if the worker is working at an elevation of six feet or more, or if the employee is working at any level above equipment or machinery that is dangerous.

What can be done to prevent falls? Many things. For example, guard rails and toe boards can be used in areas where there is a hole in the floor, dangerous equipment or elevated open-sided platforms. Safety harnesses and nets may also be used. Moreover, employees can be protected from falls through the use of hand rails and stair rails. OSHA also mandates that in general employers should keep their workplaces free from known dangers. This includes keeping floors clean and dry, providing employees with free protective equipment and training employees about dangers they may face while on the job.

Unfortunately, some employers may try to cut corners and will not provide the proper safety equipment to employees or keep their premises safe. When such negligence leads to a fall, that worker should understand that he or she has rights that he or she should be able to exercise without fear of retaliation. While the worker can notify OSHA of the incident, if the worker is killed in a construction accident, his or her loved ones may want to learn more about filing a wrongful death suit.