OSHA Launches Campaign to Prevent Workplace Falls
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, in 2010, falls accounted for 250 fatal accidents suffered by construction workers. In addition, the agency reports that each year, falls cause about 10,000 construction injuries.
Preventing Workplace Injuries Caused by Falls
In order to keep workers safe from falls, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a campaign – in conjunction with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the construction sector of the National Occupational Research Agenda – to educate companies on the dangers of workplace falls and how they can be prevented. Some of the recommendations that these organizations have set forth include:
- Planning ahead – employers should decide how a job should be done ahead of time to ensure that the needed safety equipment is available. In addition, companies should include the cost of safety measures in their budget for the job.
- Providing equipment – safety equipment that workers need – such as ladders, safety gear and scaffolds – must be available at the site before any work on the project begins.
- Providing training – every worker on a construction site needs to receive adequate trained on how to safely set up and use equipment.
Following these recommendations is a start to reducing the number of construction worker injuries and deaths caused by falls.
When the Worksite Is Not Safe
Although employers are required by law to provide a safe environment for their employees to prevent falls and other workplace injuries, oftentimes workplaces fall short of this standard. When this happens, workers can voice their concerns directly to OSHA. If injured, workers may be able to seek reimbursement for medical costs and lost wages through a workers’ compensation claim.
One potential pitfall for workers is their employment arrangements. If a worker is classified as an independent contractor, the employer does not generally need to provide workers’ compensation insurance. In some situations, a worker may have been incorrectly labeled an independent contractor and able to seek compensation.
Following an on-the-job injury, it is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can advise of all rights and assist with the claims process.