For the fifth year in a row, OSHA is hosting its National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Together with NIOSH and the Center for Construction Research and Training, OSHA encourages all employers in the construction industry to shut down operations at some point between May 7 and May 11 and address whatever factors put their workers at risk for falls. This is important since in South Carolina, as elsewhere in the U.S., falls are the leading cause of death in the industry.
According to NIOSH, one-third of construction fatalities are caused by falls. By participating in the fifth annual stand-down, however, employers and their workers can work toward reducing the number through focus sessions. There is no right method for conducting the event as employers should be able to adapt the stand-down to their particular work environments. However, training is one possibly essential component. Employers could also hold demonstrations, play videos and give toolbox talks.
The flexibility of stand-downs is part of the reason why they have become so popular with both large and small businesses. In the past five years, the National Safety Stand-Down has been held in all 50 states and even internationally. Last year in the U.S., 49 percent of the stand-downs were held by companies with less than 25 employees.
Employees injured in a fall have two options when seeking compensation. They could file for workers’ compensation or file an injury claim. Workers’ compensation benefits can be paid out for any workplace injuries regardless of who, if anyone, was to blame. While the state does place a cap on the potential settlement, the amount could cover medical expenses and lost income during the recovery. Victims may want to hire a lawyer, however, as he or she could build up the case and mount an appeal if the claim is denied.