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Fatal falls in construction continue to see increase

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Workers' compensation |

Workers, especially in the construction industry, face the risk of falling from elevated heights. They could be on a roof, on scaffolding or climbing a ladder. Despite the wealth of safety information and the rules laid down by OSHA, though, many people die each year in fall-related deaths. You were fortunate if you survived the fall that you were in here in Louisville, Kentucky.

Fall fatalities are increasing

To put things in perspective, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 887 workers died in falls in 2017. This is the highest that the number has been in the three decades that the BLS has been monitoring workplace fatalities. Fall fatalities composed 17% of all work fatalities that year and nearly 40% of those in the construction industry.

The reason for the increase in fatalities is partly due to the construction boom that followed the recession and created a demand for skilled labor. Unfortunately, that demand could only be met by inexperienced workers. There’s also the issue with OSHA having only 2,100 inspectors to regulate safety on more than eight million job sites.

Small construction companies and fall deaths

Smaller construction businesses are being hit hard by the trend, first because they often do not receive crucial information on how to improve workplace safety. For example, fewer of these businesses have participated in the safety stand-downs that OSHA and NIOSH set up. Their health and safety programs, then, tend to be underdeveloped.

Between 2011 and 2015, more than 60% of all construction-related fall fatalities were the employees of companies with 10 or fewer workers. During that five-year period, fatal falls in residential construction in particular, which is the field most smaller businesses fall under, more than doubled.

Fall victims may seek compensation

The workers’ comp program exists to reimburse those who suffer from a job-related injury or illness. You can be eligible for benefits regardless of whether you or anyone else was at fault for the fall. Nevertheless, you may want a lawyer to help you file your claim since there’s the chance that the employer will deny payment.