Falls are a primary cause of fatalities for construction workers around the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also states that improper fall protection is the workplace violation that it cites the most. To reduce the rates of injuries and fatalities related to falls, OSHA is promoting its annual campaign to prevent these types of incidents. The event is voluntary and this year is planned for May 8-12.
The event gives employers the opportunity to speak with their employees about workplace safety. They can schedule a stand-down and have in-depth discussions about falling risks and the necessity of fall prevention. Participation in the campaign can be used to discuss the employer's workplace safety goals and policies, hazards and protective procedures. Employees can also use the time to inform management about fall hazards that they see are currently in the workplace. Employers are not restricted to discussions. They may opt to conduct inspections of safety equipment or take the time to develop rescue plans.
OSHA estimates that its annual campaign has reached approximately 5 million workers. The event is open to any establishment that wants to prevent falls from occurring in the workplace. This can include residential construction contractors, highway construction companies, commercial construction contractors, unions, general industry employers and institutes. Past participants have also included the United States military, employer's trade associations, safety equipment manufacturers and employee interest groups.
Most construction workers who are injured on the job are eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. An attorney can often be of assistance in ensuring that the claim is filed on a timely basis, and legal counsel could also provide advocacy at a future appeals hearing if the claim is denied.