Assisting Clients Across California Since 1993

Falls in construction and how to prevent them

Falls are among the most frequent and costly incidents that can befall a construction company. Construction employers in California can imagine just how serious a fall can be for a worker: He or she may injure multiple parts of the body, be left with a temporary or permanent disability and lose significant time off work.

Of the more than 10,000 construction-related workers’ compensation claims that Nationwide processed between 2014 and 2018, nearly one-third involved falls from elevated surfaces. Nationwide Loss Control Services encourages all construction employers to regularly sit down with employees to talk about safety. To this end, it may be good to know about OSHA’s annual Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

During a stand-down, workers can be retrained on safety protocols and learn about various hazards that were previously overlooked but discovered recently in a safety assessment. Specifically, employers will want to train workers on inspecting and correctly using elevated work platforms like scissor lifts and scaffolding. Whenever possible, these platforms are to be preferred to ladders although podium stepladders are safer than A-frame ladders.

The elevated platforms should have guardrails going around them and be equipped with a rope and pulley system or block and tackle system. Workers, for their part, must be provided the right personal protective equipment.

Even with the right gear and the most safety-minded culture in a workplace, accidents can occur nonetheless. This is why employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employees may file for workers’ comp benefits, which cover short- or long-term disability leave and all medical expenses, if their injury or illness is work-related. While the question of negligence does not necessarily have to come up, employers may deny benefits if victims were at fault, so it may be helpful to have a lawyer assist.