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Construction stand-down may help in preventing falls

Over one-third of construction fatalities in the U.S. are caused by falls, according to NIOSH. Because falls are the most common cause of deaths in construction, it's essential for employers in the industry to address any risks in the workplace and follow OSHA guidelines concerning lifts, scaffolding and other elevated surfaces. Thankfully, there's a chance for companies in Connecticut and across the nation to do precisely this.

From May 7 to May 11, OSHA will be holding its fifth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. The organization, along with NIOSH and the Center for Construction Research and Training, advises all construction employers to participate in the stand-down by shutting down operations and focusing on equipment inspections and employee training. The training could include toolbox talks, demonstrations and videos.

For the past five years, the stand-down has attracted businesses both large and small with its flexibility as owners can tailor their focus sessions depending to the unique situation that their workers face. Stand-downs have been held in all 50 states as well as internationally. In the U.S., companies with fewer than 25 employees held roughly 49 percent of the stand-downs last year.

When falls lead to construction injuries, victims may be able to take advantage of the benefits offered through their employer's workers compensation program. All they have to do is report the incident and show in their claim that it took place at work; however, filing for these benefits will waive their right to sue their employer.

Victims may benefit from legal representation since workers comp claims could be denied. A lawyer may be able to negotiate for a fair settlement covering medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. The workers compensation program might also reimburse family members or other dependents of those who die in falls to cover burial expenses and a percentage of the decedent's weekly pay.

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