Construction employers in Ohio should be aware that OSHA has scheduled its annual National Safety Stand-Down for May 4 to 8, 2020. OSHA has held this voluntary event for seven years in a row in the effort to raise employers' awareness of the number one killer in the construction industry: falls.
Falls from elevated surfaces accounted for 320 of the 1,008 construction deaths recorded in 2018, and the especially tragic thing is that these were preventable. Most of the time, all it takes is for workers to be properly trained on detecting fall hazards.
What the Safety Stand-Down does is give employers a chance to take a break and talk with their employees face to face about fall safety and prevention. Even those companies without a discernible fall risk can stop and get the workers together to discuss the company's policies and goals. In the past, general industry companies, unions, safety equipment manufacturers and even the military have participated in this event.
OSHA hosts the stand-down in coordination with professional organizations like NIOSH and the Center for Construction Research and Training. Those who want to participate but are unsure how to prepare can see OSHA's website for suggestions. They may also want to contact their Regional Stand-Down Coordinator if they want to open the event to the public.
Many construction workers' accidents end in injuries only, in which case victims can file for workers' compensation benefits. When they end in fatalities, the families of the victims may file for death benefits. Unlike with personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits, workers' compensation claims do not require one to prove the other side's negligence to be eligible for benefits. Still, one may do well to hire a lawyer, especially if the employer denies payment saying that the victim was at fault.