Construction site owners in New Jersey should be aware that falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, 310 construction workers die every year in falls, and 10,350 are seriously injured. In the effort to prevent falls, NIOSH has released a fact sheet on roof, scaffold and ladder safety for both employers and workers.
The fact sheet stresses the importance of adequate training. Employers must additionally have a fall protection program in place for roof workers and have them use the buddy system. Fall arrest systems should have the correct anchorage. It's also best to monitor the weather.
As for scaffolds, these should be inspected before each time they are used. Employers can consider assigning and training someone for this. The same person could also be trained to supervise the building of scaffolds. Ladder safety is simpler but no less crucial. Workers should maintain three points of contact with the ladder, never overload it and always face forward when climbing it.
The fact sheet comes just in time as employers prepare for the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, which will take place from May 6 to 10. NIOSH is offering free online resources to assist in the preparation.
Where there is no question of employer negligence, a fall could form the basis for a workers' compensation claim. Victims can file for benefits once they have reached maximum medical improvement, but they may want a lawyer to assist them. One reason for this is because employers have the right to deny payment where employees themselves are to blame. A lawyer may be able to mount an appeal on victims' behalf. Those who are already receiving benefits may want to speak with a lawyer about getting a settlement.