Two workers were injured last week, one fatally, after falling at a construction site at the Minnesota Vikings stadium. The two workers, who were employees of St. Paul-based Berwald Roofing Co., were working alongside more than 1,200 others at the job site. While performing a “fairly conventional” installation, they fell more than 50 feet. It was unclear at press time whether the two workers were wearing safety harnesses, a requirement for anyone working in certain elevated areas.
CONSTRUCTION SITE INCIDENTS
Falls continue to trump the list for most common cause of injury and death to workers in the construction industry. More than 20% of all occupational injuries occur in the construction industry, according to OSHA, with falls accounting for 35% of deaths, followed by struck by an object (10%), electrocutions (9%), and caught in-between injuries (2%). Considering the statistics, these “fatal four” account for more than half of all construction worker deaths.
The construction industry sees its share of violations; These below listed standards were the 10 most frequently violated and cited by OSHA:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Control of hazardous energy
- Powered industrial trucks
- Electrical, wiring methods, and equipment component malfunction
- Electrical systems design
Falls are especially prevalent in the construction industry; last year, OSHA launched a program to raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards, called a National Safety Stand-Down. The goal of the program to prevent falls in construction was conducted May 4 – 15, as a voluntary event in which employers talk directly to their employees about fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall prevention. Participating employers stopped their work and provided a focused toolbox talk on a safety topic, such as ladder safety, fall protection equipment or scaffold safety. Detailed information on the Stand-Down is available here.
By OSHA standards, employers are responsible for ensuring their employees work in a safe and hazard-free environment, and have the proper training and tools to do their job safely as well as identify any dangerous threats to themselves and their co-workers.
When an individual is injured or killed on the job, by law, the employer must report the incident to OSHA for a complete investigation. Additionally in Massachusetts, when a worker suffers a workplace injury, he or she is supposed to be covered by Workers’ Compensation Benefits. These benefits were established to guarantee a worker and his or her family compensation for medical bills, disability payments and lost wages, as well as compensation for permanent injuries, disfigurement, scars, as well as death benefits. Acquiring these benefits can sometimes be challenging, and it is most advised that you speak to a licensed Workers’ Compensation Attorney to discuss your options after you have been involved in a workplace incident.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, our team of experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys has nearly five decades of experience handling workers’ compensation and work injury cases. We will thoroughly investigate your work injury case and examine all avenues of recovery for you and your family, including helping you access the finest healthcare available in the Commonwealth. Additionally, we will determine whether other parties are liable for your injury, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment or a negligent contractor, and we can file claims or lawsuits against all responsible parties so that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one was injured or killed at work, do not hesitate to call one of the seasoned attorneys at Altman & Altman. Our attorneys are available around the clock to assist you and all initial consultations are free and confidential.
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