Failure To Provide Fall Protection Can Result In Georgia Workplace Injuries

Fall injuries are common in the construction industry and often cause serious injury. A recent OSHA inspection found a Georgia employer failed to provide proper fall protection for worker safety.

Falls from heights are the leading causes of injury and death in construction. In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities in construction, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fall injuries in workplace accidents are often preventable with proper fall protection.

OSHA recently cited a Georgia builder for failing to provide adequate fall protections for its workers. The company builds metal and wooden outbuildings such as barns, carports and garages. OSHA conducted its inspection at the Augusta location, because of a compliant. The agency discovered that the employees routinely worked higher than nine feet without any fall protection.

The agency issued several other citations for allowing workers to use unguarded grinders and saw blades, unsafe noise levels and failing to protect workers from welding rays. The total proposed fines were $89,000 underscoring the serious nature of the violations.

It was fortunate that no workers had yet suffered injury. The management response was that "they had not yet gotten around to providing fall protection" at the location. The admitted disregard for worker safety was startling.

OSHA Guidelines Can Prevent Workplace Injury

Under a simple educational campaign, OSHA has developed three steps to keep workers safe:

  • Plan: Before starting a job, consider whether ladders, scaffolds and roof work are necessary. Then obtain suitable fall arrest systems.
  • Provide: Workers more than six feet off the ground are at an increased risk of injury. Personal fall arrest systems can prevent accidents by providing a harness and anchor for each worker on a roof.
  • Train: Anyone working high above the ground should receive proper training. OSHA provides numerous materials and resources when employers have questions.

Following these steps can reduce accidents. When your employer fails to take into account safety precautions, you can contact the agency and lodge a complaint.

Workers' Compensation Coverage

Workers' compensation medical benefits are usually available following a workplace fall injury. The benefits generally cover wage loss equal to two-thirds of your average weekly pay for up to 400 weeks. They also pay for the following:

  • Visits to the doctor and necessary tests
  • Physical therapy or chiropractic adjustments to aid recovery
  • Surgery
  • Medicines and medical equipment

Unfortunately, you cannot usually see your own doctor following an accident. Your employer will have a slate of available doctors and specialists.

If you sustain a serious injury after falling at the jobsite, speak with a local workers' compensation attorney about the claims process. Failure to timely report an injury for instance could limit your ability to obtain benefits. The workers' compensation system is complex and an experienced lawyer can assist to make sure you receive entitled benefits.

Keywords: workplace accidents, fall injuries