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NIOSH publishes revised fall-prevention fact sheet

Construction workers in Connecticut have a dangerous job. That's why federal agencies including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration devote significant resources to preventing construction site accidents. However, falls, many of which are preventable, remain a thorny problem for federal safety agencies and construction companies. In fact, falls are the leading cause of on-the-job construction worker deaths.

Fall-related accidents kill more than 300 construction workers every year and leave a further 10,350 seriously injured. In an effort to reduce these grim numbers, NIOSH recently published a revised fact sheet that contains tips to prevent fall-related injuries and deaths. It stresses the importance of training and proper safety equipment to construction workers and their employers.

The NIOSH fact sheet pays particular attention to falls from scaffolding, roofs and ladders as these kinds of accidents are worryingly common in the construction industry. NIOSH urges construction companies to ensure that scaffolding is installed and maintained by trained personnel and inspected daily. Furthermore, ladders should be placed on flat ground and never overloaded. According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57% of falls from ladders, 81% of falls from roofs and 86% of falls from scaffolds occur at construction sites.

Construction workers who suffer serious injuries caused by falls will usually be entitled to workers' compensation benefits even if negligence on their part or the part of their employers played a role. While workers' compensation may be a no-fault program, the application process is complex and can be daunting and confusing to injured workers. Attorneys familiar with the process could help injured workers to complete the necessary paperwork and make sure that they apply for all of the available benefits.

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