The OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) states that the main cause of accidents at construction sites is the common fall. The problem is that in construction sites, such a fall can lead to very serious injury or even death. Basically, any worker that is at a height of over 6 feet is at serious risk. He/she can fall from scaffolding, ladders, and roofs. Fortunately, most falls are completely preventable.
The OSHA regulations are strict and they state that employers have to offer appropriate safety gear and equipment in order to prevent the appearance of accidents, including falls. According to workers compensation attorneys in Wilkesbarre, the exact rules you have to respect vary from industry to industry and from state to state. However, the bottom line is that the employer has to guarantee the safety of its employees.
Construction employers cannot just supply some safety gear and expect this to be enough. They also have to take several other actions, like guarding holes that have a risk of falling, installing railings, adding floor hole covers, and toe-boards. Toe-boards and guardrails need to be added around runways, elevated floors, open-sided platforms, and even dangerous equipment.
Some other examples of appropriate fall protection options include stair railings, safety nets, handrails, and safety lines and harnesses. A contractor should also make sure working conditions are free of all known dangers. Also, when dangers are known, they have to be highlighted and dealt with. For instance, if the floor is wet, it is a slip hazard so it needs to be dried.
In so many cases, as the employer estimates a job’s costs, they do not take into account all the hazards, like edges and holes. This means they do not include fall protection inside the calculated budget. In other cases, the workers are not trained enough when it comes to the use of protective equipment. If workers do not properly understand how to use the equipment, there is a good possibility a fall might happen.
For instance, with roof work, falls can be quite common. A good way to prevent such falls is to use a fall arrest system. This means the worker will use a harness or ties off an anchor. The system that is used has to fit the worker and always use it.
When you are injured after a fall, financial recovery is affected by laws tied to workers’ compensation. If the only responsible party is the employer, workers’ compensation benefits activate. You cannot sue the employer for extra damages with the help of the civil court.
However, in some US states, it is possible to sue when there was an intentional act to cause the fall or to injure you. You are usually allowed to sue a third party that might have also been responsible for the fall, like safety equipment manufacturers, property owners, or another contractor. In this case, you should never file a claim without an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner.