Construction workers face elevated risks of death and injury on-the-job. There are four primary causes of death on construction sites, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) refers to as the Fatal Four. Fall injuries are #1 on the list of causes of workplace death among construction workers and are thus part of the Fatal Four. Out of 874 deaths among construction employees in 2014, a total of 349 happened as a result of construction workers suffering a fall.
When a construction worker dies or is injured in a fall, the worker or his family members can consult with an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer to get help obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can pay for medical bills, for disability benefits and wage loss income, and for death benefits. Unfortunately, no amount of money can ever fix the death of a loved one or a permanent injury. Preventing falls can go a long way towards reducing the number of workers and families whose lives are shattered by a fatal or serious fall.
Reducing Atlanta Construction Site Injuries Through Effective Fall Prevention
Safety BLR recently reported on seven steps that employers can take in order to make construction sites much safer for workers by significantly reducing the risk of an on-the-job fall. The seven recommended steps to an effective fall protection plan include the following:
- A hazard analysis: Managers and supervisors should join with field-workers to conduct a detailed assessment of the biggest risk factors that can lead to fall injuries. The hazard analysis should be interactive and individual risks at each phase of the construction should be considered.
- Removal of hazards when practicable: If there is a way to reduce the risk of fall injuries, it should be implemented. For example, instead of workers having to climb to high heights to check readouts on machinery, remote switches should be installed whenever possible to reduce the need for going to high elevations. Engineers can be a part of the process in brainstorming ways to remove hazards.
- Preplanning fall prevention techniques at all phases of construction: Fall prevention efforts should not wait until work is underway. Stakeholders during the design process, including safety professionals, designers, architects, and construction managers should all consider fall hazards that are being created and develop ways to mitigate risks during all phases of project completion. In the pre-bidding stage, contractors should also be briefed on fall prevention efforts.
- The creation of an emergency plan: If falls happen, having a plan in place to respond proactively and effectively can help reduce the severity of injuries. Plans should be site-specific and detailed and should ensure injuries are promptly reported and workers get immediate medical help.
- Ongoing on-the-job training: Employees should receive regular refresher training about fall prevention techniques and safety measures so they are continually reminded of how to reduce injury risks.
- A focus on accountability: Specific tasks in fall prevention efforts should be assigned to someone who is accountable. When one person is tasked with reducing risks, that individual accountability means a greater chance protocols will be followed.
- Inspections of worksites: Routine inspections are also essential to ensure fall prevention techniques are being effectively incorporated into construction work completion.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.