Construction is a dangerous job, but employer policies and unsafe working conditions can increase the risk that workers face. The single biggest risk to construction workers in terms of fatal workplace accidents is the risk of a fall. It makes sense, given that workers are often out on the sides of buildings or on the roof of a structure not yet enclosed. Workers can also fall while working on or installing elevator shafts.
Unlike some other kinds of workplace accidents, which are usually the result of a confluence of difficult circumstances, falls are typically preventable and predictable accidents. Workers with proper training and safety equipment can avoid most falls, and employers who take proactive steps to ensure worker safety can reduce the risk of their staff falling on the job.
Companies need to look at best practices, not just the law
Federal standards for worker protections are a bare minimum. These rules exist because some companies won’t provide any safety equipment or training unless the government compels them to do so. The standards are so low that workers can still be at significant risk when companies comply with basic regulations for construction safety.
Companies that only do what the law requires may still leave their workers vulnerable. For example, even working on the creation or repair of a one- or two-story building could result in a severe injury or fatality if a fall happens. The same is true for workers performing tasks near an open elevator shaft, even if they aren’t working on the elevator itself.
Instead of only providing fall safety gear in legally required circumstances, employers should try to be proactive and provide gear anytime a worker has the potential for injury. By focusing on worker safety instead of on cost and speed, employers can help keep everyone safe. Companies can choose to stop work when weather or other conditions increase risk. Sadly, many of them just won’t put worker safety first.
Cutthroat culture can lead to workers in unnecessary danger
To keep their prices competitive, companies are often doing everything they can to minimize construction costs. Unfortunately, safety measures and extra equipment are often the first expenses they choose to cut. You and the other workers deserve to be safe.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects you from lost wages and medical costs associated with a workplace injury. However, if your employer engages in unsafe practices, you may also have the right to take civil action against the business, particularly if you can show that your injury is the direct result of inadequate safety gear, improper policies or unsafe work conditions.
Talking with an attorney who has experience with both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases can make it easier for you to connect with the compensation you need after a workplace fall leaves you injured and unable to work.