The National Safety Council says number two on the list of primary causes of work-related deaths is fall accidents from heights. Nationwide, including California, approximately 10,000 construction workers suffer fall-related injuries every year, bringing about some of the highest valued workers' compensation benefits claims. However, it is not only those working on scaffolding structures that are at risk because more than 50,000 struck-by-falling-object injuries are recorded each year, indicating that workers below elevated levels are also at high risk.
Safety authorities say that although unsafe structures and the lack of fall protection are factors in employee safety while working at heights, the lack of adequate supervision and human error also play a significant role. Furthermore, complacency does a lot to normalize and compound risks. It is not uncommon for workers who think they know what they are doing to be involved in fall-related workplace accidents.
Workers who have years of experience in working at heights without adverse incidents often become complacent. They let their guards down, and this leaves a gap in the safety protocol, which also compromises the safety of others. Hazard levels are exacerbated when complacency and rushing come together. The fact that complacency and compounding risks form the example set for younger, less-experienced workers puts a whole generation of construction workers at risk.
While precautions might prevent some falls from heights, workplace accidents will likely continue to occur. Injured victims are entitled to workers' compensation benefits that typically cover medical expenses, lost wages and occupational training when applicable. An experienced California attorney can assist with the intricacies of the claims process.