Construction site falls are not rare events. Unfortunately, such accidents are almost always preventable, but they often end in tragedy. North Carolina workers who operate at great heights may understand the risk, and there are simple precautions they can take to avoid serious injury in the event a fall occurs. Like many construction accidents, a recent event demonstrates how suddenly a fall can happen.
Two men were working on bridge repairs as part of an ongoing overpass project in another state. The men were standing on a temporary wooden walkway about 20 feet above an interstate. Around 3:30 p.m., the workers attempted to remove bracing material between two beams. After successfully removing several braces, the outer beam of the bridge shifted without warning, causing their wooden platform to come loose from its support.
A tragic fall
The wooden walkway dropped to the interstate below, and the two men fell onto the debris. Fortunately, no cars were passing on the interstate at the moment of the fall. Nevertheless, the men suffered serious injuries and were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.
Several factors OSHA typically evaluates following North Carolina construction accidents involving falls include whether the workers had appropriate training for working above ground. OSHA also may investigate whether the company that employed the workers provided adequate fall protection and if the victims were correctly using protection at the time. They may also investigate whether the materials or equipment injured workers were using may have had some defects that contributed to the fall.