pigeon on the ledge

At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we try and see every misfortunate accident as an opportunity to inform our readers of what exactly went wrong, so as to try and avoid similar mishaps in the future. Last weekend, a terrible tragedy occurred. A man in South Paterson, New Jersey fell off the roof of an apartment building. He died from the injuries he sustained. The middle-aged man, along with some fellow employees, were working on a low-level apartment building on Bloomfield Avenue when the accident occurred. Evidently, he was trying to clean the gutters when he lost his balance, plummeting 25 feet to his death. Generally speaking, a 25-foot drop isn’t always enough to cause death. However, this man, whose name has not yet been released, struck a metal fence on his way down, which exacerbated his injuries.

A neighbor, who was aware of the ongoing repairs, happened to witness the fall through the window of her home. She attested to as much to the police officers who responded to the scene.

Our hearts go out to the family of this man. And we lament the fact that accidents like this occur at all. However, this terrible scenario at least makes eminently clear the dangers involved when working atop buildings and provides an opportunity to learn about how best to avoid future accidents. In attempt to eliminate similar accidents, we at Kaplan Lawyers PC would like to provide a quick refresher course on building safety, for all those who work on or oversee rooftop construction projects.

How To Safeguard High Areas

OSHA, which stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has produced an extensive amount of literature concerning the preparatory safety measures one should take in order to secure rooftops.

This is a serious issue within the industry. One third of all workplace deaths are caused by falls from height.

There are three important components of a safe elevated workplace. Each safety measure has important particularities and guiding bylaws the extent of which must be strictly adhered to in order to maximize safety. Obviously, the size, shape and variance in situation dictate the finer details of accordant safety equipment. But here are the three major provisional systems that can be installed to improve overall employee security:

  • Guardrails
    • Railings must be between 39 and 45 inches to qualify as sufficiently capable of preventing falls.
    • Rails should have no sharp, rough or serrated components. Nothing that could potentially injure a person clinging to said rail for stability, nor anything jagged enough to ensnare bits of loose clothing.
    • Rails should be able to withstand 200lbs of pressure at their top edge, ensuring that if a person were to tumble and brace themselves with the rail, that the structure would hold.
  • Safety Nets
  • Personal Fall-Arrest Systems
    • In more extreme circumstances, personal fall-arrest systems may be put in place. Similar to mountain climbing equipment, a personal fall-arrest system employs a full-body harness and a strap system which will suspend a worker if they were to lose footing in a high area.

Personal Decks and Balconies

For homeowners who fancy themselves builders, there are certain other things to keep in mind when constructing private balconies and decks. For instance, you should always take into consideration the pitch and slope of your deck. Using pressure-treated and weather-resistant wood is a great place to start, but implementing a slight tilt will help wick water off the edges of your outdoor area in perpetuity, greatly increasing the construction’s lifespan. Without compromising the integrity of the project, or putting the balance of your guests at risk, you should angle the plane of your surface downwards towards the edges. This will help deter dangerous puddling by providing all-important drainage.

Kaplan Lawyers PC

Have you or a loved one fallen from a height and sustained an injury? Have you been unable to provide for your family because of time you were forced to take off from work? In situations such as these, there are many variables you must consider. A major factor, however, in all ensuing litigation processes is whether or not you were properly cared and provided for. Construction site foremen have a professional obligation to properly maintain safe working conditions for all employees, and must inhibit danger that might befall passers-by. They are bound to the safety protocols put in place for these reasons, and must be diligent in performing inspections and upkeep on equipment and machinery. If a foreman has failed to meet any of these criteria, they may be liable for any ensuing harm incurred. If you believe that you are the victim of professional negligence or malfeasance on the part of a proprietor, foreman, or superior of any sort, it may within your rights to sue for compensation. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we can help you win just that compensation, which will keep you financially secure while you focus on what’s important: healing from your injuries and returning to work. We do not take a fee unless you earn the compensation you deserve. Our consultations are a free and easy to get started, so contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today.