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Head Over Heels at Work: Surviving a New York Construction Site Fall

It is no secret that New York construction work is dangerous, and sometimes even fatal. Falls, both long distance and short distance, account for a whopping one third of all fatal New York construction site accidents. You may think that a work-related falling death only occurs from a great height, but it is short distance falls, such as a ladder fall, that are the leading cause of fall injuries. You may not always be able to avoid a fall, but knowing how to fall when it happens may seriously reduce the injuries that you sustain. If you find yourself falling from a ladder or plummeting toward the street after a scaffolding accident, will you know how to survive?

How to Survive a Short Distance Fall (such as a ladder fall or a slip-and-fall accident):

  • Don’t catch yourself with your hands: Falling with your hands out to brace your body is a recipe for broken wrists. 
  • Pretend you’re holding a baby: Your natural instinct when falling with something fragile in your arms is to draw your arms in close to the body and land on your shoulder or back instead. This is the best position to protect your body in a fall.
  • Keep your head up: It may sound obvious, but a fall-related worksite head injury is very likely to be fatal. 
  • Roll as you land: Rolling in the natural direction of the fall as you land helps spread the force of impact over a larger area. 
  • Relax and breathe out: Keeping your muscles relaxed and exhaling naturally keeps your body more flexible. 

How to Survive a Long Distance Fall (such as a scaffolding fall, bridge fall, or roof fall):

  • Hold on: If scaffolding or other debris falls with you, try to hold on to it. Known as “wreckage riding,” this increases wind resistance and slows your fall.
  • Fall like a skydiver: Make your body flat, spread your arms, and keep your head arched back. Again, this slows your fall. 
  • Aim: If you are able, attempt to guide your fall to a softer or clearer area.
  • Turn and land on your back or buttocks: It is especially important during a long distance fall to do everything you can to avoid landing head first. 
  • Relax and breathe out: As with a shorter distance fall, this keeps the body flexible and reduces injuries. 

The New York workers’ compensation lawyers at Markhoff & Mittman encourage you to practice falling under the guidance of your doctor or physical therapist. Practicing falls in a controlled environment is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for the worst.

If you have already been injured in a New York worksite fall accident, Markhoff & Mittman can explain your rights and work toward getting you the compensation you are due. Read our FREE book, 5 Deadly Sins That Can Derail Your New York Workers’ Compensation Case, and give us a call at (866) 205-2415 or toll free at 866-205-2415. We look forward to helping you.

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