Up on the Roof: a Dangerous Place for Construction Workers
Recently, a Maryland man died after falling off a roof while trying to secure a safety anchor at the construction site where he worked. Unfortunately, this type of workplace injury is often fatal and happens more often than it should. In Georgia, employers in the construction field can protect workers from the dangers of falling from ladders, roofs or scaffolding by making sure that safety mechanism are available.
Falls are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the construction industry. In 2010, 264 construction workers fell to their deaths at worksites across the nation. To prevent these fatal falls, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that employers plan for these types of accidents, provide adequate safety equipment and train employees in safe work practices to avoid falling when working on multi-story construction or other projects that require work at substantial heights above the ground.
Plan – Provide – Train
As part of an outreach effort to prevent injuries from on-the-job falls, OSHA recently launched a ” Fall Prevention Campaign.” As a part of the educational effort, OSHA recommends that employers plan, provide and train.
Plan – employers should plan for safety when designing the job site. There have been many advances in safety equipment. Employers need to provide basic safety equipment and inspect it regularly for defects.
Workers who are performing job duties six feet or more above lower construction site levels are most at risk to suffer workplace fatalities. Therefore, these workers should have regular access to safety equipment.
Provide – workers need access to personal fall arrest systems that include harnesses and anchors to catch them in a fall.
In addition to personal fall arrest systems, employers may provide guardrails, safety nets, warning lines and covers for holes or gaps on the site. They may also choose to declare certain lofty work areas controlled access zones, where only specifically trained employees may work.
Train – providing equipment is not enough to ensure workers will be safe. Employers must also provide adequate training on how to use the safety equipment. Then, employers should regularly inspect job sites and safety logs to review whether employees comply with the safety initiatives.
Your Rights After an On-The-Job Injury
If are you are injured after falling at your workplace, there are remedies available. A workers’ compensation claim may provide for your medical expenses and cover lost wages while you heal from the injury. Following a workplace injury, a workers’ compensation attorney can explain the filing process and assist with negotiations through appeals, if necessary.