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Worker Injured in Fall at Newport Beach City Hall Construction Site

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A construction worker suffered serious job injuries after falling at the site of Newport Beach’s future city hall building. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the construction accident occurred the morning of December 6, 2011 in the 1100 block of Avocado Avenue. Officials say the male worker fell about 30 feet and was taken to a regional trauma center for treatment. The worker was said to have been in “stable” condition when he was transported to the hospital. Cal-OSHA is expected to investigate this incident. Details about how the worker fell were not released.

My thoughts and prayers are with this injured construction worker and his family. I wish him the very best for a quick and full recovery from whatever injuries he has sustained.

Work-Related Falls

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2008, fatal work injuries involving falls decreased 20 percent in 2008 after a sharp increase in 2007. The 847 fatal falls reported in 2007 was an all-time high. Fatal falls to a lower level, which accounted for 85 percent of all falls, had decreased by 23 percent in 2008. Fatal falls from roofs were down 26 percent and falls from ladders decreased by 14 percent.

The U.S. Department of Labor lists falls as one of the leading causes of catastrophic injuries and traumatic occupational death, accounting for 8 percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma. Any time a worker is at a height of 4 feet or more, he is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at 4 feet in the general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction. Regardless of the height, fall protection must be provided when a worker is working over dangerous equipment or machinery.

Causes and Compensation Issues

In this particular case, it is not clear how or why the worker fell. Did he have some type of fall protection since he was 30 feet above the ground? Was he trained adequately for the job? Did he take all safety measures and precautions required under federal and state law? Was he being supervised at the time? Did he have the necessary safety equipment? I trust OSHA investigators will look into these and other factors in order to determine precisely why this accident happened.

In such cases, injured victims can seek workers compensation benefits to help pay for medical expenses and lost wages. However, California workers compensation benefits can prove extremely inadequate, especially when it comes to covering serious injuries. An experienced Newport Beach personal injury lawyer can better advise injured workers about whether they have a third-party claim. These types of claims may be filed in addition to a workers compensation claim against parties other than the employer, such as a general contractor, sub-contractor, property owner, or the manufacturer of a defective product. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured workers and their families.

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