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Fall protection shortcomings contribute to deadly fall

One of the leading causes of workplace death in construction is falls, and South Carolina employees need to be aware of safety standards related to working in elevated settings. Nationally, fall-related deaths have increased every year since 2011. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that approximately 40 percent of construction deaths in 2014 were attributed to falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for establishing and overseeing standards for safety in various work environments, and when an employer violates those standards, OSHA may impose sanctions in the form of monetary penalties. However, this does not always result in improved safety on the job.

In a May accident in Texas, for example, a construction worker fell from the third story of an apartment building, perishing because of the accident. The plasterer had only been working on the project for one month at the time of his death. According to OSHA, the company did not equip the workers on the site with proper fall protection equipment. Further, the company allegedly failed to install scaffolding. The company in question is based in Arizona and has also been cited there in the past for fall hazards at its job locations. In previous instances, the company's fines totaled $5,850. In the Texas incident, the company is expected to face sanctions of nearly $408,000.

A company is responsible for protecting and educating its workers with regard to safety, and construction contractors are among those most likely to deal with injuries and work-related illnesses in their employees. Appropriate workers' compensation insurance is among the measures used to cover the potential costs associated with such incidents.

An employee who is seriously injured on the job is typically not able to sue their employer in connection with the incident. However, workplace accidents caused by employer negligence might warrant an individual's discussing the situation with a lawyer to determine whether there is any legal recourse.

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Smith & Griffith, LLP
1102 North Main Street
Anderson, SC 29621

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