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Are construction site injuries preventable?

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched a safety campaign this past spring, called the National Safety Stand-Down. Designed to prevents falls in construction, the initiative emphasized the importance of equipment inspections, having rescue plans in place, and identifying potential workplace hazards.

Unfortunately, a majority of construction workplace accidents continue to involve falls, either from scaffolding or ladders. According to data maintained by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, over 360 construction workers suffer fatal falls each year on the job.

A construction employer that has a history of violations and/or a poor safety record might find that it has to pay higher premiums on its workers’ compensation policy. Other consequences of violations of OSHA safety regulations might be a loss of applicable licenses, bringing a construction project to a halt. Why, then, were fall prevention safety standards in the top 10 most cited OSHA standards in 2014?

Until the data improves, it is important for a construction worker to understand his or her rights under applicable workers’ compensation laws. First of all, an injured worker does not have to accept a benefits package that does not compensate all of his or her injuries arising from a workplace accident. Any damages calculation should include more than just the immediate medical care costs.

Workers’ compensation benefits may also account for lost wages and income from being unable to work, potential long-term health care needs, and potential disability benefits. There are different categories of workers’ compensation benefits, and even death benefits. Our law firm focuses on this practice area, and our website explains these classifications in greater detail.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, “Construction Industry,” copyright 2015, U.S. Dept. of Labor

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