Construction Worker Falls from Balcony and Sustains Serious Injuries


This case involves a twenty-seven-year-old male who was working on the construction of an apartment building. The construction worker was installing a balcony railing system on the second-floor. As he was securing the railing to the balcony’s cement foundation, he lost his footing and slipped off the edge. The worker fell into an area that was littered with construction tools and debris. He suffered severe lacerations to his torso, a broken femur, and a compound fracture in one of his arms. He has been unable to return to work for the past six months.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What are the proper safety standards for construction workers operating at an elevated height?

Expert Witness Response

There are very specific fall protection guidelines outlined by OSHA that must be implemented when a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling. The worker should have been outfitted with a fall arrest system similar to a climbing harness. These particular systems can be anchored to various parts of the building to protect the worker from falling. The harness build must be able to support a fall that is equal to 1,800 pounds (8 kilonewtons) and be rigged so that the worker may not free fall more than six feet. Additionally, these individuals must be adequately trained to use these fall protection systems. If this person was correctly outfitted with a such a device, their injuries could have been avoided. I have over twenty years of experience working as a construction foreman and have extensive knowledge of OSHA’s Fall Protection guidelines.

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