FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-08-31
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were 264 fatal falls in the construction industry in 2010. More than a third of all construction deaths are due to falls, making falls the largest single cause of accidental fatalities among construction workers.
However, while falls are a serious threat at a worksite, most of them can be prevented. When employers put into place the proper safety measures, construction workers and their families can be saved from having to suffer through a potentially life changing fall.
Safety Equipment, Proper Procedures Essential
Workers more than six feet above the ground or a lower level are at risk for death or serious injury in the event of a fall. Anyone working at a height of six feet or above needs to be provided with the fall safety equipment that is appropriate for the job at hand. Depending on the context, this may mean a guardrail system, a safety net system or a personal fall arrest harness. It almost goes without saying that all fall protection equipment should be kept in good condition and workers should be trained in its use.
Preventing falls is not just a matter of equipment though. Every construction employer should have a written fall prevention plan. Before each project, potential fall hazards should be identified, and daily walk-arounds should be conducted to map new potential hazards as they arise. When something has to be done at a height of over six feet, if possible, potential fall risk should be eliminated completely by rescheduling the task, isolating the task or changing the task.
Liability for South Carolina Construction Falls
The South Carolina workers’ compensation system ensures that there are resources available to pay for wage replacement and medical benefits for employees who are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is a tradeoff that is generally good for both workers and employers. In return for giving up the right to sue their employers, workers receive workers’ comp payments regardless of fault so long as they can prove the injury is work-related. Workers get the benefit of a guaranteed pool of resources, and employers escape the shadow of unpredictable liability.
However, when some third party other than their employer was fully or partially responsible for causing a fall, injured construction workers may also be able to obtain compensation through a personal injury claim. Such third-party liability claims are not uncommon in the construction industry, where a variety of contractors are often present at a jobsite.
Whether you need workers’ compensation or are considering a third-party liability claim, a skilled attorney is an essential ally. Your attorney can help ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you’re entitled to. If you’ve been injured in a construction fall, or if a family member has been killed, get in touch with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney today to get the compensation you deserve.