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Why elevators are dangerous for construction site workers

The dangers of working at a construction site are many, from falling off scaffolding to getting stuck in or under heavy machinery. It is no surprise the industry has so many fatalities, though many of these are preventable by following OSHA guidelines to the T.

Though falls receive much deserved attention, one source of this type of accident may not: the elevator shaft. A necessary contraption for getting up and down a tall building can also be a deadly fall for construction workers.

The dangers of elevators

Construction of a new multi-level building requires leaving empty spaces for elevator installation, one of the last tasks of the project. These open columns pose a serious risk for anyone working in the shaft or around the area, or someone installing or repairing an elevator. All these jobs demand the use of safety gear, as it is easy for a worker to lose balance or slip on a surface.

Without the proper gear and protective measures, workers can fall to their death from several stories high. Even low falls can be fatal, as the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows. It is imperative that construction companies provide their workers with harnesses and secure flooring. They must also follow weight limits on equipment and make sure everyone is aware of where the shafts are to avoid unknowingly going near or in one.

Accountability in accidents

If the company failed to follow OSHA standards, then it is responsible for the death or injury of any workers. Workers' compensation or wrongful death claims would be applicable in these instances. If a third-party contractor or property owner was involved and contributed to the unsafe work environment, that party may also be accountable through a third-party lawsuit. 

Sometimes, everyone follows safety procedures, but the equipment proves to be defective. In this case, the manufacturer is responsible for the accident and can face a product liability lawsuit.



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