Fall-related injuries account for nearly a third of the workers’ compensation claims faced by the construction industry. Construction workers and employers in New Jersey should know about the steps that can be taken to prevent or at least reduce the number of falls from elevated surfaces.
One step is to take up OSHA’s recommendation to hold a safety stand-down where all production is temporarily stopped and the employees come together to talk directly to their employer about fall-related hazards. Employers can, then, perform a hazard assessment and raise awareness of any dangers that were previously overlooked.
Next, employers should focus on the safety of workers who are on elevated work platforms like mobile scaffolding and scissor lifts. These platforms should have guardrails around them in addition to a rope-and-pulley or a block-and-tackle system to aid in lifting materials up. Workers should be trained on using these platforms and inspecting them. In general, workers need to know how to repair and replace equipment, too.
Ladder safety should not be ignored either. Standard A-frame ladders should be avoided whenever possible because of how dangerous they are. Workers should opt, instead, for podium stepladders. Employers could put all of this down in a written policy. The most important thing is to establish a more safety-minded work culture.
Not all accidents on the job can be prevented, but fortunately, for injured workers, there are workers’ comp benefits to file for. These benefits could provide wage replacement on a regular basis and cover all medical expenses, but they are not necessarily guaranteed. Victims may do well, then, to hire a lawyer after they have reported their injury. The lawyer may assist with filing and with any appeals. Victims who wait until they have reached maximum medical improvement may choose to settle.