Look around your Baltimore County, Maryland neighborhood. How many roofs are being repaired or replaced? How safe are those construction workers who are up there walking around and balancing on our rooftops, hammering and replacing shingles for long hours in the sun?
Many of the Maryland Workers' Compensation injury cases we handle involve fall accidents. It may be a construction work related fall from a roof, scaffolding, or other elevation. We've also had cases where clients were injured by falling from a large vehicle (e.g., a tractor trailer truck or crane), or by having a fall when they stepped on a slippery or broken surface at a job site.
A recent article posted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) confirms what we as Baltimore County work injury attorneys encounter working on behalf of injured clients in Maryland: Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. When someone is injured or killed in a construction fall accident in Maryland or any other state, the toll on the family is significant. Not only are wages lost, but life as that family knew it is never the same.
The DOL article also cites Workers Compensation statistics on the impact on our economy when someone gets hurt or killed in a fall accident at work:
Our nation’s largest provider of workers compensation data — the National Council on Compensation Insurance — found that from 2005 to 2007, 38 states reported that falls from elevations cost insured roofers $54 million per year.
With roofing season now in full swing in Maryland and around the country, worker safety should be top of mind -- for both employers and employees. The DOL's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is now kicking off its campaign to prevent falls for the second year in a row. The OSHA Stop Falls campaign is built around three important steps for employers to follow: Plan, Provide, and Train. That is, properly plan for the jobs, provide the right safety equipment, and train all employees in work safety procedures.
We've heard many unfortunate stories of construction workers in Maryland who fell to their deaths -- or were seriously injured -- due to a slip and fall accident that could have been prevented. OSHA provides resource materials for employers written in several languages so that all workers, young and old, new to the job and veterans alike -- have the training and equipment they need to stay safe on the job. Construction workers are some of the hardest-working people out there. They deserve to come home safely after a hard day's work.
Related Maryland Workers Comp Lawyer articles:
The Cost of Falls and What You Can Do to Stop Them
U.S. Department of Labor blog, May 30, 2013