Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

Workers' compensation: Human factors increase risk for injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls from heights are second on the list of work-related deaths nationwide, including New Jersey. This is also reflected in workers' compensation claims, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says objects dropped from heights also lead to many occupational deaths. The Bureau noted that human factors play a role in a significant number of these incidents.

Safety authorities say workers at heights have almost no margin for error, and the slightest mistake can have tragic consequences. Human factors that are prevalent in the lives of workers include fatigue and various sources of distraction. Personal problems and difficulties at home could be enough to prevent a worker from focusing on the job. It is also noted that distractions often cause workers to forget to wear fall harnesses.

Another human factor that could prove to be deadly is complacency. When workers have spent many years working at heights without adverse incidents, they become complacent and fail to comply with the prescribed safety standards. While ongoing safety training can reduce the risk of complacency, employers must find ways to mitigate the hazards posed by human factors.

Unfortunately, workplace injuries and deaths among those who work at heights continue to occur. However, the workers' compensation system of New Jersey is a no-fault system, which pays benefits regardless of who was at fault. Even if human factors caused a fall from a scaffold, the victim or surviving family members of a deceased worker would be entitled to file benefits claims. This could be a complicated process, which can be simplified with the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

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