The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for construction companies to follow in order to help prevent falls among their workers.
However, falls are still among the leading causes of construction injuries, causing employees to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
A little background
In 2020, the National Safety Council (NSC) listed construction among the most dangerous industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were more than 300 work-related deaths among construction workers and 16,590 nonfatal injuries and illnesses that year.
The Prevent Injury Campaign
In their Prevent Injuries Campaign, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons provided recommendations for employers to follow in order to prevent injuries from ladder falls:
- Plan work to reduce the need for using ladders by applying safety-in-design principles that allow finishing as much work as possible on the ground
- Provide safer equipment for work at higher levels, such as aerial lifts and supported scaffolds
- Provide thoroughly inspected ladders matched to worker weight, job location and task
- Provide ladder safety information and training to employees
In its standards for residential construction, OSHA addresses construction activities workers carry out that are six feet or more above ground level. Protection for workers must employ the use of guardrail systems for scaffolding, a safety net system or a personal fall arrest system. These standards should remain in place unless an employer can show circumstances in which they present a greater hazard.
Workers’ compensation help
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 60% of construction injuries happen in an employee’s first year of work. For falls and other job-related construction injuries, workers can expect to receive benefits that cover their medical expenses and lost wages. Workers’ compensation not only helps injured workers but also protects employers from the possibility of injury lawsuits.