Falls from Heights in NJ and NY – Top Causes of Work Accidents in the Construction Industry
Falls from heights are one of the top causes of injuries and deaths in the construction industry, particularly for Region 2, which includes New Jersey and New York. Region 3 includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C.
A Look at Construction Deaths Due to Fall Accidents
According to OSHA data, there were over 820 deaths in 2013 in the construction industry. Some of the most dangerous construction activities include residential construction, roofing activities and specialty trades (foundation, structural and building exterior work).
Roughly 37% (303) were due to fall accidents (slip and fall, trip and fall and falls from heights). In the fiscal year 2014, there were 899 deaths in the construction industry, of which 40% (359) were due to fall accidents. In fiscal year 2015, Region 2 saw 51 fatal accidents in the construction industry, of which roughly 40% (19) were from fall accidents. Averaging the data from 2013 and 2014 and comparing it to the 2015 data specific to Region 2, Region 2 accounts for roughly 6% of all fatal accidents in the construction industry in the U.S.
OSHA’s Local Emphasis Program for Region 2
Given the incidence of fatal work accidents in the construction industry in Region 2, OSHA has implemented a Local Emphasis Program (LEP). Through the LEP, OSHA seeks to curb serious work accidents and deaths specific to Region 2. OSHA targets the following types of construction sites/activities:
- Structural steel erection activities where the use of fall protection systems is not apparent and where fall hazards exceed 15 feet.
- Construction sites where scaffolds are used without sufficient guardrail systems or personal fall arrest systems for fall hazards greater than 10 feet.
- Construction sites where aerial lifts are used without sufficient guardrail systems or personal fall arrest systems for any potential fall hazard.
- Construction sites where open sided floors or floor openings are used.
- Roofs where no fall protection systems are in place for fall hazards.
In addition, the LEP for Region 2 also focuses on any construction activities where workers are working from elevations, heights or work platforms such as bridge work/repairs, water tower work, sites using suspension scaffolds, etc.
For more information, visit our PA & NJ work accident injury law library.
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