Many workplace fatalities for construction workers in South Carolina and the rest of the country are caused by falling. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration names the absence of sufficient fall protection as its most commonly cited violation.
In order to combat the number of injuries and deaths related to falls, OSHA is conducting its annual safety campaign on this problem. The voluntary event, which in 2017 takes place in the second weekend in May, is aimed at increasing the awareness of fall hazards. OSHA estimates that these campaigns have reached approximately 5 million workers in the United States since their inception.
Employers can use the event as an opportunity to speak directly to their employees about safety in the workplace. A stand-down can be conducted by taking a work break to concentrate on situations that can result in falls and to emphasize the necessity of effective fall prevention methods. Employers may address protective procedures, hazards and the safety goals and guidelines of the company. Employees can also use this time to advise their employers of the existing fall hazards they see around the workplace.
Participation in the campaign is open to anyone who wants to prevent falls from occurring in the workplace. During previous campaigns, the participants have included highway construction companies, sub- and independent contractors, commercial construction contractors, the United States military, unions and employer’s trade associations. Individuals who work for general industry companies, employee interest groups, safety equipment manufacturers and institutes have also taken part in the program.
Most injured construction workers are eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that can help meet medical expenses and in some cases provide a percentage of lost wages. An attorney who has experience with these matters can often assist with the preparation and submission of the required claim.