After analyzing more than 10,000 construction-related workers’ compensation claims processed between 2014 and 2018, Nationwide found that more than 30% involved a fall from an elevated surface. Construction employers in Arizona should know that the insurer has offered safety training to thousands of workers over the years.
To raise awareness of fall-related hazards, OSHA sponsors a program called the “Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.” A stand-down requires all operations to cease so that workers can get together with the employer and discuss safety issues. Employers who participate in this event every year may ultimately make their workplace a more safety-conscious one.
Even without a stand-down, though, employers are expected to provide the appropriate training when it comes to inspecting work sites and reporting hazards. Workers should also be knowledgeable about inspecting and installing elevated work platforms like mobile scaffolding. Scaffolds and scissor lifts are preferable to ladders. When ladders are unavoidable, workers should try to use podium stepladders, not A-frame ladders.
Elevated work surfaces should be protected with guardrails, and the workers should be wearing harnesses and other gear. Employers must provide the correct tools for lifting materials up. Either a rope and pulley system or a block and tackle system could work. Neglecting safety can be costly as falls lead to serious injuries and long-term disability leave.
Under workers’ compensation law, those who are injured in a work-related fall are entitled to benefits, which include wage replacement, reimbursement for all medical expenses and temporary or permanent disability leave. Victims may want a lawyer to guide them through each step before all the deadlines hit. That way, the employer will be less likely to try and deny the claim. If benefits are denied, though, the lawyer may lend a hand with the appeals process.