North Carolina construction accident shows danger of falls

A recent accident in North Carolina showed the danger faced by construction workers across the country.

Recently, a serious construction accident in North Carolina resulted in three fatalities and one person suffering severe injuries. The accident occurred when construction workers were performing their duties on a mast climber.

Mast climbers are machines used to scale a building to perform work in lieu of traditional scaffolding. While mast climbers are said to limit repetitive stress injuries - like those to the shoulder and back - as they can be placed in exactly the right position for a worker, when they malfunction or are not used properly the results are often deadly.

The cause of the accident in North Carolina has yet to be determined. Currently, investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking into the accident.

Mast climbing accidents frequently result in serious injuries because workers are typically unable to secure themselves to the building on which they are working. Rather, workers may have a lifeline connected to the mast climber itself. While such precautions will prevent a worker from falling out of the mast climber, it will not protect the worker if the mast climber itself collapses, as happened in the North Carolina accident.

Falls are a serious concern for all construction workers

Unfortunately, falls are not an uncommon occurrence on mast climbers or in the construction industry in general. In all, about 18 workers were killed in mast climbing accidents from 1990 to 2010, according to a report conducted by the Center for Construction Research and Training.

Across the United States, falls are the biggest killer of construction workers on the job, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013 alone, 294 construction workers died as a result of a fall while at work, based on data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The CDC recommends that workers and employers follow three main steps to ensure their safety when working on a job site involving heights. First, the workers should create a plan before performing the job, to ensure it can be completed safely. Next, they should make certain they are provided with the appropriate equipment. Finally, each worker should receive the proper safety training to complete the job.

When a construction worker is injured while performing his or her job duties, the results can be catastrophic. From lost wages to significant medical expenses, injured workers can find the financial consequences of an on-the-job injury to be unmanageable. Following such an accident, an injured worker should seek the counsel of a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney.

Keywords: North Carolina, construction accident, fall