Construction workers throughout Ohio run risks every day on the job. Perhaps you yourself were unable to avoid a hazard one day and suffered serious injuries as a result. Rather than accepting what the workers’ compensation program has to offer, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. It all depends on whether the employer was negligent.
The importance of a safety culture
Construction employers are expected to create a safety-minded culture in the workplace. They can do this through comprehensive training and regular assessments that point out any hazards that were overlooked. Each year, OSHA sponsors the nationwide Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, and employers can join in this as well. During a stand-down, all operations cease so that employers and employees can talk about safety.
Focusing on ladder and scaffolding safety
Training should take into account the use and inspection of elevated work platforms like mobile scaffolds and scissor lifts. These should have guardrails, and the workers should be equipped with the appropriate protective gear. When lifting materials up to these platforms, workers should use a rope and pulley system or a block and tackle system.
These elevated work platforms are always preferable to ladders. All too often, employees will choose the wrong ladder for a job, use one that’s damaged or fail to place it on level, firm ground. The standard A-frame stepladder is often associated with on-the-job injuries. If elevated platforms are not possible, employees should opt for a podium-style stepladder.
Having a lawyer evaluate your case
In any event, employers have a special duty to prevent falls because these can lead to workers sustaining multiple injuries and incurring temporary or even permanent disabilities. It also means lost time from work and decreased productivity.
You may receive workers’ compensation benefits, but if you were clearly not to blame for your injuries, a personal injury claim may be better. You may recover more in damages, including lost income and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. A lawyer may be able to assess your case and help you decide what route to take.