Construction site accidents are not uncommon in California and around the county, and many of them involve workers who suffer serious injuries after falling from elevated surfaces. Workers who are injured in falls file approximately 30% of the workers’ compensation claims in construction despite advances in safety equipment and improved training protocols. In 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration took steps to reduce the number of fall-related construction accidents by sponsoring an initiative called Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.
Falls often cause catastrophic injuries
OSHA decided to take action because construction accidents involving falls are often preventable, and the workers’ compensation claims filed in connection with them tend to be expensive. Construction workers injured in falls may suffer multiple injuries that prevent them from bringing home a paycheck for months, and many of them are placed on disability leave for extended periods. Understanding the dangers workers face on elevated surfaces is a positive first step toward avoiding accidents and preventing injuries, which is why the OSHA initiative called for regular Stand-Down meetings where workers, supervisors and managers could discuss these issues in a proactive way and implement needed changes.
Policies, inspections and training
Other steps employers can take to prevent on-the-job accidents include putting written policies into place that echo OSHA regulations, regularly inspecting ladders and scaffolding and ensuring that workers receive thorough safety training before they are permitted to work on elevated surfaces. Fall-related injuries can also be reduced by using podium rather than A-frame stepladders, installing guardrails on scaffolds and scissor lifts and using ropes or pulleys to lift heavy items onto raised surfaces.
Advocating on behalf of injured workers
Employers and insurance companies are more likely to challenge workers’ compensation claims when benefits are likely to be high and paid for long periods. If you are injured and your compensation claim is challenged or denied, an attorney with experience in this area may be able to assist you during the appeals process. An attorney may help you gather medical records and other evidence to support your claim and advocate on your behalf during workers’ compensation appeals hearings.