Over the past five years, Nationwide processed more than 10,000 workers’ compensation claims due to a multitude of accidents from construction-related businesses. One of the most common — and costly — causes of claims occur when construction workers fall from elevated surfaces. These accidents represent more than 30 percent of all construction claim payments. Learn more here.
To help employers reduce these injuries, Nationwide has provided safety awareness and training to thousands of construction workers over the past few years. The program supports a national campaign called “Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction,” which runs May 7-11 and is sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“Construction employees work hard every day in environments that are often dangerous,” said Linda Stueber, Nationwide’s vice president of Construction. “Our data shows that falls from elevated surfaces can often lead to serious and costly worker injuries, so it’s crucial for construction companies and their workers to implement regular safety training — and put that training to practice.”
Why are falls from elevated surfaces so costly?
Nationwide’s data indicates that injuries related to falls from elevated surfaces are more severe than other injury claims because these accidents result in:
- More time away from work.
- Damage to multiple body parts.
- Short- and long-term disability leave.
How can construction companies keep their workers safe?
Nationwide’s Loss Control Services experts encourage managers to communicate regularly with employees about safety. Hosting a “Stand-Down” event onsite is one way companies can start the conversation with employees about common safety hazards and the importance of conducting safety assessments when a job requires work on elevated surfaces. Nationwide also recommends construction companies take the following workplace safety measures:
- Develop written policies and plans to reduce the use of ladders and make other safe options readily available.
- Regularly inspect equipment and repair/replace as needed.
- Train workers to properly use and inspect mobile scaffolding and lifts.
What can construction workers do to stay safe on elevated surfaces?
Employees who often work on elevated surfaces should start a conversation with their managers on implementing best safety practices. Instead of relying on ladders, the Ohio-based insurer recommends construction workers use:
- Mobile scaffolds, scissor lifts or other elevated work platforms that are equipped with guardrails and additional protective gear.
- Rope, pulleys, block and tackle or other appropriate material-handling aids to lift materials onto elevated surfaces.
- Podium stepladders, whenever possible, instead of standard A-frame stepladders.
“Falls from elevated surfaces can be reduced or even eliminated by providing companies with the right tools and resources to make jobsite safety a priority,” said Mark McGhiey, Nationwide’s associate vice president of Loss Control Services. “We encourage everyone to implement a ‘stand-down’ and support workers’ safety through proper hazard assessments and training.”
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