In your job as a construction worker, you have likely seen many accidents and injuries. Perhaps you have suffered an injury that required stitches or crutches, and it may have reminded you for a time of the importance of using the appropriate safety gear and giving your full attention to the task in front of you.
The most terrifying accident to witness may be when a co-worker falls from a height. While not the most common accident in the construction industry, falls result in more fatalities than most other workplace incidents. Because of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates numerous protocols for preventing fall accidents. Nevertheless, OSHA investigations for recent years led to more citations for fall protection than any other violation.
Prevention is critical
Falls from a great height place you at risk of fatal injury. In fact, it is difficult for anyone to survive a fall of more than 30 feet, but a shorter fall can be just as deadly, depending on the circumstances. More than half of those workers who die from jobsite falls do not have appropriate safety equipment. You may be in this situation too if your employer does not provide equipment such as:
- Edge protection
- Fall arrest systems such as harnesses or webbing
- Adequate lighting
- Work areas free of debris
- Well maintained equipment
- Adequate training and retraining
Studies show that about 20 percent of fatal falls on construction sites occur when the victim has been on the job only a month or two and may not have received adequate training. You may feel that you could use more training on how to protect yourself from a fall that could lead to devastating consequences. Safety advocates recommend that employers provide regular, ongoing training by a qualified professional so you will know how to create and maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
Still, accidents happen. If you fall from a height of even six feet, you risk injuries to your spinal cord, brain and internal organs. Even a non-fatal fall can result in catastrophic injuries that could change your life forever. If this happens, you will want the most complete benefits you can obtain from workers’ compensation. Getting these benefits can be a complicated process, especially if you are recovering from an accident. This is why many injured workers reach out for legal assistance after a workplace injury.