Long Island Construction Death Linked to Improper Fall Protection
The 2018 death of a construction worker in East Patchogue, Long Island has triggered a substantial penalty for his employer, highlighting the need for appropriate fall protection. While installing roof panels on a shed, the Northridge Construction Corp. worker fell from his ladder onto a concrete surface, suffering a fatal blow to the head. According to OSHA, this was one of approximately 5,000 deaths per year attributed to construction worker falls.
Following a review, OSHA levied more than $200,000 in penalties against Northridge for numerous willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards in connection with the deadly incident. The company has appealed the decision, which details several different types of failures:
- Failure to provide fall protection — The investigation showed that the victim was working 12 feet above the ground without any guardrail, safety net or personal fall-arrest system. Legally, an employer is required to use some sort of fall-prevention method when someone is operating on a leading edge that is six or more feet high.
- Lack of helmets — No helmets were worn by Northridge employees despite an OSHA rule mandating their use when there is a risk of falling or being hit with flying objects.
- Misuse of a ladder — OSHA rules prohibit standing on the top step or cap of an A-frame stepladder. In the fatal incident, the victim used the top step to reach the top of a storage container. This and the fact that the ladder was in a closed position were held to be serious violations.
- Failure to ensure the roof’s structural integrity — A willful violation was recorded because the roof panels on the partially completed structure did not have the “requisite strength and structural integrity.”
According to OSHA records, no single cause accounts for more construction worker deaths than worksite falls. The report on the tragic Northridge case shows that many factors can contribute to these accidents, so if you’re seeking compensation for a construction injury or death, it’s important to retain an attorney who is well versed in these matters and the relevant safety standards.
For decades, Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson has secured substantial compensation for New Yorkers who have been injured in construction accidents. If you were hurt on a worksite and want to learn about your rights and options, please call 888.746.8212 or contact us online.