Fall Protection in the Workplace Highlighted by Two Houston Fatalities

Two separate and unrelated fall fatalities happened in the Houston-area on September 3, 2020, and November 11, 2020. Both involve very different circumstances, but they both highlight the need for fall protection in the workplace.

Worker Dies Falling into Trench

On September 3, construction workers were working around an excavation in the up-and-coming Bridgeland subdivision in Cypress, Texas. News reports suggest that the man was struck by an object causing him to fall into the 15-foot-deep trench. He did not survive his injuries.

Worker Falls from Roof

On Nov. 13, construction workers were performing repairs on the roof of the First Colony Middle School in Sugar Land, Texas around 2:00 a.m.  One of the workers fell from the roof and died of his injuries. The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the construction company failed to provide and/or require the use of fall protection in the workplace.

Employers and Fall Protection

OSHA requires that all employers provide their employers with a safe workplace. This is a non-delegable duty. While providing worker’s compensation may limit some of the employee’s rights to recover for the employer’s negligence in failing to provide fall protection in the workplace, an employer cannot escape liability for his gross negligence.

Types of Protection from Falls

There are numerous types of fall protection that an employer may choose from. Fall protection includes barriers and scaffolding that can be used to prevent falls in and around trenches, buildings, and rooftops. Additionally, fall protection in the workplace can involve providing personal fall arrest systems such as harnesses, hoists, and other devices that protect the worker when a fall from a height occurs.  With all of the options currently available, there is simply no excuse for an employer to provide none at all to his workers.

Get Help

Victims of work accidents due to falls while on-the-job are not without rights or recourse.  A fall protection lawyer can help you sort through the volumes of federal laws that regulate when an employer must provide fall protection.  If you have been the victim of a fall, contact a knowledgeable fall protection attorney to learn your rights.