Injuries can happen in any workplace, but those who work in construction here in Kansas City and their families know that the risk of suffering an injury on a worksite is very high. This is because construction work involves a number of hazards – from traffic to heavy machinery to scaffolding. Construction industry employers do have the power, however, to eliminate a number of serious injury risks.

The American Society of Safety Engineers recently reported that many falls on jobsites could be protected if construction workers had access to simple protective devices. The ASSE report says that a number of great fall prevention technologies exist, but they are not being used. This is, in part, because construction site managers are putting productivity over safety, according to ASSE.

According to the organization’s research, less than 60 percent of residential sites that were audited had an average rate of compliance when it comes to fall prevention and protection. Only 28 percent of the sites are in average compliance when it comes to roof truss installation projects.

These statistics are very troubling, because more than 60 percent of construction fatalities in the residential building industry were caused by falls in 2011. The research suggests that many of these deaths could have been prevented.

ASSE says that simple technologies are available to add protection to floor openings and provisions for temporary walking surfaces, and that these go a long way when it comes to preventing falls.

Carpenters and contractors with whom ASSE discussed these safety measures thought that using new safety devices might hurt productivity. Other concerns included a lack of finances and knowledge to implement new fall prevention and protection tools.

ASSE ultimately recommended that the construction industry and safety device manufacturers should partner to come up with solutions to some of these issues.

When workers are injured on construction sites here in the Kansas City area, it is important to seek legal counsel. Workers’ compensation benefits should be available to account for medical expenses and lost wages, but in many cases a third-party personal injury claim is also possible. Those who are injured on the job should be aware of all of their rights and options to maximize compensation for their injuries.

Source: Risk & Insurance magazine’s Workers’ Comp Forum, “ASSE: Productivity concerns deter use of protective devices,” Nancy Grover, Sept. 9, 2013

Questions about the legal issue in your life? We have answers.