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Fall safety the subject of annual construction stand-down

Construction workers in New Jersey should know that falls are the leading cause of death in their industry, accounting for roughly one-third of worker fatalities. Though OSHA has guidelines in place to protect workers on scaffolding and other elevated surfaces, these are not always followed. This is why OSHA, together with NIOSH and the Center for Construction Research and Training, encourage construction employers and employees to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

Begun five years ago, the campaign takes place across all 50 states and even internationally. The event has wide appeal among both large and small businesses; in fact, those with fewer than 25 employees made up 49 percent of the U.S. participants back in 2017. The fifth annual stand-down is scheduled to take place from May 7 to May 11.

There is no set way to hold the stand-down, but employers are encouraged to shut down their operations and gather their workers for a focus session. This could include training, enhanced by live demonstrations, videos and toolbox talks. The important thing is to increase awareness of the factors that lead to falls and to find ways to reduce them.

When workers fall and injure themselves, they'll want to see if they are eligible for compensation. On the one hand, they may file for workers compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. On the other hand, they might choose to file a personal injury claim if there is clear proof that the employer's negligence led to the accident. The potential settlement might be higher. A personal injury lawyer may be able to hire investigators, gather the necessary paperwork and negotiate for an out-of-court settlement, litigating only as a last resort.

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