Construction site managers in Pennsylvania should be aware that nearly one third of workers’ compensation claims that construction companies file nationwide are due to fall-related injuries. OSHA even sponsors an annual event called Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction in the effort to reduce these types of injuries. Here is what employers and employees can do for their part.
First, employers should hold a stand-down of their own where they can converse freely with their employees about various fall-related hazards in the workplace and raise awareness of those hazards that may have been overlooked. This can be combined with more safety training and the gradual development of a more safety-minded culture.
More specifically, companies should have a written policy in place that requires workers to conduct regular equipment inspections. Workers should be properly trained on the use and inspection of scaffolding and lifts. When ladders become necessary, workers should use podium stepladders whenever possible rather than the more dangerous A-frame ladders.
Scaffolds and other elevated work platforms should be protected with guardrails, and the workers should wear harnesses and other gear. For lifting up materials, there should be a rope-and-pulley or a block-and-tackle system ready. If employers and employees neglect safety, there will only be more falls, more workers taking disability leave and decreased productivity.
Those who were injured in a fall may be left dealing with the cost of medical treatments and rehabilitative care as well as the financial hardship that comes with being out of work. Fortunately, they may pursue a workers’ compensation case to be reimbursed for all medical expenses and for a portion of lost wages, among other things. Consultation with a certified specialist workers’ compensation attorney is advised so fall victims can protect all of their rights.