When safety authorities discuss workplace injuries in the construction industry, they will likely agree that falls are the cause of most of the serious injuries and fatalities reported annually. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has implemented strict safety regulations to address all the hazards presented by working at heights. However, many employers in New York and other states choose to disregard the safety precautions that can save lives. Too many New York workers lose their lives in construction accidents that were preventable.
OSHA requires construction workers who work at heights of 6 feet and higher to wear appropriate fall protection. However, such protection will be of no use if they are not trained in the proper use of the safety gear. Furthermore, supervisors must monitor workers at all times to ensure they anchor their lanyards securely at all times.
Guardrails and toe-boards are essential wherever there are holes through which workers can fall and on elevated floors and platforms with open sides. Any areas that span over machines, vats, conveyor belts or other hazardous areas must have protective rails and toe-boards. Other effective fall protection that can prevent fatalities includes handrails on stairways and safety nets.
New York workers who are suffering the consequences of construction accidents may have to face high medical bills and extended periods away from work. The financial implications can be devastating. Fortunately, financial assistance is available through the workers’ compensation insurance system. Victims may file benefits claims that typically provide coverage for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages.
Source: osha.gov, “Fall Protection“, Accessed on Nov. 3, 2016