National Safety Groups Promote Construction Fall Prevention
Construction zones are inherently dangerous, with job duties that often require working at extreme heights. Every year, 225 construction workers die and another 10,000 are injured in preventable falls. In 2010, 264 out of 774 total construction worker deaths were caused by falls. Now, several safety agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have launched campaigns to prevent falls and construction worker deaths.
Safety Groups Team Up for Construction Fall Safety
OSHA, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) are teaming up to educate workers and employers on how to prevent construction falls. Each organization will provide information on how to prevent falls, including training on roofs, scaffolds and ladders.
One of the more comprehensive prevention programs is OSHA’s “Plan-Provide-Train” campaign. As its name implies, the campaign encourages employers to plan for hazards, provide appropriate safety equipment and effectively train employees in fall prevention and safety.
First, employers should plan ahead to protect workers from falls from lofty worksites. Employers must decide who will work at certain job sites, what tasks they will need to do and what types of equipment the workers will need to stay safe. For example, a contractor whose worksite includes rooftops may only assign these jobs to experienced workers with fall prevention training and provide appropriate safety equipment.
Appropriate fall prevention equipment is crucial to protecting workers from construction injuries. Fall prevention equipment can be as simple as a ladder or as complex as a personal fall arrest system (PFAS), which anchors a worker to the structure he or she is working on through a harness and rope system. Scaffolding is also an important part of fall prevention, since it provides a stable area to stand while working.
Lastly, employers should strive to provide their workers with most comprehensive safety training possible. Workers not only need to be educated on the inherent hazards of working at heights, but trained in how to use and maintain fall prevention safety equipment, how to spot a hazardous situation and other safety practices.
Construction Injury Liability
Employers have more than a moral duty to provide appropriate safety training and equipment; they are also bound by law to do so. Construction site owners, contractors and engineers can be held accountable for injuries or deaths that occur on their job sites. These employers are required to maintain a safe workplace, inspect their job sites regularly for hazards and address any safety concerns. Injured workers may be able to recover medical costs, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering as well as workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained in the workplace.
If you have been injured in a fall at a construction worksite, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you recover appropriate compensation and medical benefits.