How construction employers can reduce fall-related injuries

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Perhaps you live in California, and you recently suffered a back injury in a fall from an elevated platform. If the fall happened while you were on the job, then you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, though the process of filing a claim can be somewhat complicated.

The construction industry sees a significant number of fall-related workers’ comp claims. From 2014 to 2018, Nationwide processed some 10,000 workers’ comp claims involving construction, more than 30% of which resulted from a fall. Falls are common and costly. Victims may injure multiple parts of their bodies and experience temporary or permanent disability, and companies may see a sudden decline in productivity.

Stand-downs and other safety measures

Preventing falls is essential, and to this end, OSHA sponsors a nationwide campaign called Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. During the Stand-Down, all work ceases so that employees and the employer can come together to discuss certain hazards in the workplace. Employers could also conduct a safety assessment to point out other hazards that were previously overlooked.

Scaffolding and ladder safety a must

Employees should be adequately trained in using and inspecting elevated work platforms like mobile scaffolding and scissor lifts. If equipment must be repaired or replaced, this can and should be done by the employees, provided that they received the proper training. The elevated platforms should have guardrails, and employees must wear protective gear. When lifting materials, there should be a rope and pulley system or block and tackle pulley system.

Ladders pose a serious threat to safety as well, A-frame ladders in particular. Construction site owners should consider implementing a written policy or plan that gives employees safer alternatives. Podium stepladders, for example, would be a safer option, though they’re not ideal for every situation.

A lawyer to give your case personal attention

As you may not know much about how workers’ comp law operates, you may wish to consult a lawyer. Another potential benefit of hiring an attorney is that this could make the filing of an appeal easier. After all, employers have the right to deny payment. A lawyer may also discuss when settlements are feasible.

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