Statistics show that the most often cited cause of workplace injuries is a fall. This statistic is not news to the majority of California construction workers and their employers. Preventing a construction accident due to a fall ought to be a priority for everyone in the industry.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), if a construction worker will be performing his or her duties at a height of six feet or higher — or will be working over dangerous machinery or equipment — fall protection is required. Employers are required to ensure that the proper safety measures are in place and being used at every job site. Elevated work areas, holes in walls or floors and overhead platforms are considered the areas where most falls occur.
Railings and toe boards are required at these locations. Many construction sites require the use of additional safety measures such as safety harnesses, lines and nets, along with handrails and stair railings. Of course, the mere availability of safety equipment is not enough. Companies need to conduct training for all of their employees on the proper use of the equipment.
Unfortunately, even when everything is done right, a construction accident can occur. If a construction worker is injured or dies as the result of a fall, benefits from the California workers’ compensation system may be available. For an injured worker, medical bills and lost wages may be covered. In addition, if he or she is disabled either temporarily or permanently, disability benefits might be appropriate. If a worker dies, his or her family may receive benefits to cover funeral and burial costs, along with a compensation package for the loss of their family member’s income.
Source: osha.gov, “Fall Protection“, Dec. 13, 2014