Construction site owners in Pennsylvania probably know how dangerous is the industry they work in. Of the 4,693 worker fatalities that occurred in 2016, 991 were in construction. OSHA has determined four major safety hazards accounting for nearly two-thirds of all construction fatalities and dubbed them the “Fatal Four.” They are falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects and getting caught in machinery and other structures.
Of the four, fall hazards cause the most fatalities, including 384 of the 991 deaths in 2016. Falls are frequently caused by the improper use or designing of scaffolding and ladders. Whether workers are using supported scaffolds or suspended scaffolds, there is a limit to the weight that workers can put on them as well as a minimum width requirement for planking. Ladders compromise worker safety when they’re not secured at the top and bottom and when workers climb them while carrying tools and materials in their hands.
Unprotected openings and edges also raise the risk for falls, which is why there are safety guidelines regarding the use of guardrails. These are, in fact, the only approved method of fall protection. Safety nets and personal fall arrest systems are acceptable, too. Above all, though, employers must train employees on a regular basis. Site supervisors should be conducting hazard assessments as well.
When construction workers’ accidents occur despite all precautions, victims can see if they qualify for workers compensation benefits. The only requirements are that the employer carry workers comp insurance and that the accident occur on the job. Neither side admits to any fault. The filing process might go more smoothly with a lawyer; in this state, victims may strive for a settlement if they have additional expenses they want covered. A lawyer may handle negotiations and even mount an appeal if these fall through.