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The costs of ladder and scaffolding falls for New Jersey workers

Vulnerability to job injuries is something that concerns certain types of Bergen County workers more than others. Employees most prone to injuries are those engaged in high-risk physical activities, like working with large machines or performing tasks at great heights.

Construction site accidents can be among the most devastating for victims and their families. Injuries may be severe and disabling, threatening the wage earner's health and livelihood. Coverage for injury-related medical costs and wages losses are accessible through workers' compensation claims.

To get an idea about the scope of certain injuries, let's look at costs associated with ladder and scaffolding falls. The data was compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA reviewed claims in three dozen states, excluding self-insured employers, for workers' comp policies in effect between 2005 and 2007.

The field was narrowed to claims submitted by injured carpenters and roofers. Analysts compared costs of falls from all heights to falls specifically from ladders or scaffolding and broke down costs by occupation.

Costs associated with falls by roofers were higher on average than falls for carpenters, whether injuries were caused by falls from elevations or isolated to falls from ladders or scaffolds. The average coverage required for a carpenter's fall from a ladder or scaffold was $62,000 compared to $68,000 for a roofer.

Roofers were injured less often than carpenters in ladder and scaffold slip-and-fall accidents. During the three-year period, 837 roofers and 3,104 carpenters suffered ladder or scaffold injuries. Workers' comp benefits for medical care averaged $43,000 for roofers and $36,000 for carpenters, while wage replacement benefits totaled about $25,000 for roofers and $26,000 for carpenters.

Imagine the financial turmoil an injured worker faces who fails to get maximum benefits. Attorneys try to make sure injured workers receive all the compensation to which they are entitled, whether that means fighting a claim denial or seeking damages through a third-party negligence lawsuit.

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