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NIOSH issues fact sheet to help prevent construction worker falls

Construction workers in New Jersey and around the country are at high risk for falls. Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry with an average of 310 fatal falls and 10,350 serious injuries every year, according to information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In an effort to reduce these numbers, NIOSH has recently put out a fact sheet for construction employers.

Roof, ladder and scaffolding safety are the subjects of the fact sheet. Roof workers should wear appropriate fall protection equipment, use the buddy system and be properly trained. Fall arrest systems should use the correct anchorage. Employers must additionally monitor the weather for high winds and other dangers.

Maintaining scaffold safety is also an extensive process. Someone should be assigned and trained to supervise the erecting of scaffolds. This same person or another individual should inspect the scaffold and all its parts before it is used. Scaffolding must comply with the manufacturer guidelines and OSHA standards.

The first step in ladder safety is knowing which ladders are right for which jobs. Workers should face forward when climbing ladders, never overload them and always maintain three points of contact with them. Scaffolds and ladders should both be placed on flat, level ground.

When employers take all the necessary precautions to protect their workers, they usually are not at fault for any workplace injuries that happen. Fortunately for the victims, the workers' compensation program can cover their medical expenses and a percentage of the wages they lose during their physical recovery. Filing a claim and addressing any objections from their employer, though, may require the help of an attorney. A lawyer may also discuss the two possible ways of achieving a settlement.

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