When you work construction, injuries are almost inevitable. A 33-year study by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) found that construction falls account for about 50% of all construction worker deaths. About half of the workers who died in a fall did not have access to fall protection.
If you work at or near construction there is a possibility you will be witness to a construction fall. When this happens you need to be ready to take appropriate action.
1 Help the Victim
If you witness an incident assist the victim by rendering first aid. Make sure hazardous machinery in the area is shut down and the area secure to prevent further injuries.
Depending on the severity of the incident you may need to call for emergency medical services. Stay with the victim until medical assistance arrives.
- Report Accident to Employer
As soon as the victim is secure, make sure you notify your employer. This provides notice to the employer of a potential safety hazard and establishes the timeline for notification regarding workers’ compensation for both the victim and those who witness the incident.
Workers’ compensation claims have specific steps that must be taken to ensure compensation. One of the first steps is to make sure the employer receives prompt notice.
- Be a Reliable Witness
Make note of what you saw with as much accuracy as possible. Even things that seem incidental may be important for investigators to determine the exact cause of the incident and how to prevent similar falls in the future.
By providing accurate information you are helping to ensure that standards in the future provide a safe environment for all workers. If you are an employee of the construction site where the injury took place, you have a legal right to undergo questioning without your boss present. You may also request your union representative be present while you answer questions.
- Receive Traumatic Stress Treatment
When you witness a construction accident all focus is on the victim, but you are also a victim. If you see a coworker falling during a construction job who suffers serious injuries or death, you may suffer from traumatic memory.
In the construction industry, the suicide rate for men is 49.5 per 100,000 workers and 25.5 per 100,000 individuals for women. This is a higher rate than any other profession. In addition to the memories of witnessing the fall, some workers experience feelings of guilt, especially if there is anything they did or didn’t do that may have prevented the fall.
If you are witness to a traumatic construction job injury you may seek compensation for mental suffering. It may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation. You can find more information here.
- Contact an Attorney
Whether you are the person who suffers the fall or a witness, you need to speak to a construction accident attorney. You may be entitled to compensation through workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim. This includes the recovery of medical expenses, loss of income, and more.
In addition to your workers’ compensation benefits, an attorney will be able to advise you on additional recovery you may be entitled to, including claims against one or more third parties.
Construction Falls Follow-up
If you witness construction falls it is important you make sure the appropriate authorities receive your statement. The employer may try to side-step the discovery of any worker safety issues on their construction site. If you feel a dangerous work condition is being overlooked follow-up with appropriate authorities such as OSHA.
We invite you to check out other blogs on our website for more information on your legal rights.