Construction site owners in Kentucky might be wondering what the most common safety hazards are in their industry, and the answer comes down to falls. Nationwide Insurance analyzed more than 10,000 construction-related workers' comp claims that it processed in the past five years, and the company found that 30 percent of them are due to falls from elevated surfaces.
This simply underscores the need for ongoing employee training. To this end, OSHA sponsored a nationwide stand-down from May 7 to 11, encouraging construction employers to put a temporary stop on production and address safety issues on the job site. For many, these stand-downs provide the perfect opportunity to transition into ongoing training.
Some of the steps that companies can take to reduce falls are to conduct regular safety assessments and ensure that elevated surfaces are protected by guardrails or safety nets. A-frame ladders in particular are dangerous, and employees should be taught to avoid them when possible in favor of podium stepladders.
Employees should also be trained on the proper use and inspection of mobile lifts and scaffolds. When materials need to be hauled up, workers should always use ropes, pulleys or block and tackle to aid them. Holding tools and materials in the hand can increase the risk for a fall.
Fall-related workers compensation claims tend to be expensive because victims generally have to take a longer disability leave. Victims, for their part, may want to consult with a lawyer before filing so that every step is taken care of in a professional manner. A lawyer might help victims decide whether the settlement should be paid in a lump sum or in regular payments; it often depends on the victims' current income. If the insurer rejects the claim, the lawyer may mount an appeal on the client's behalf.