Implications of fall protection equipment study on Arizona workers

The American Society of Safety Engineers recently released a study on the use of fall protection equipment on construction sites. According to the study, a large number of residential construction companies are choosing not to use protective equipment. These findings are concerning since falls account for 64 percent of workplace fatalities in residential buildings and 100 percent of fatalities for those in the framing contract profession.

The risk of construction site accidents can be reduced through the use of safety equipment. However, the study found that workers were concerned that the amount of time it took to learn how to properly use the device could lead to a reduction in productivity. As a result, construction professionals were choosing not to use the equipment.

The problem is an issue on construction sites across the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that, according to preliminary findings for 2012, there was a 5 percent increase in fatal work related injuries within the private construction sector compared to the previous year. This sector had experienced five consecutive years of decreasing fatality numbers. This trend was broken in 2012, with 775 reported fatalities compared to 738 in 2011.

Within this group, falls, slips and trips accounted for 668 fatalities in 2012. Of falls from heights that reported on the height, 25 percent occurred at a fall of less than ten feet and an additional 25 percent occurred at heights over 30 feet.

Workers' compensation and falls in Arizona

If a fall or other workplace accident occurs while working and results in an injury, the worker may be eligible to receive workers' comp benefits. The workers' compensation system is designed as a "no fault" system that provides benefits to employees injured while on the job. It is intended to provide payment in a manner that is much timelier than going through a lawsuit.

If you are injured while working in Arizona, you should file a claim in writing with the Industrial Commission of Arizona. It is important to do this in a timely manner, since the report must be filed within the first year after the worker becomes aware of the injury. Once this report is received, the ICA notifies the employer's workers' compensation insurance provider of the pending claim. A notification letter is also sent to the injured worker. This letter will provide the worker with basic information about the claim and the name of the employer's insurance provider.

Putting together a claim or fighting an initial denial can be difficult. If you are injured in a fall or other workplace accident in Arizona, contact a certified workers' compensation attorney to better ensure a successful claim or appeal.

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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson and Yuma, and throughout Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County, and all of Arizona.