Pennsylvania employers have the duty to provide a safe work place for their employees. One of the top causes of fatalities at construction sites, including PA construction sites, is falls from heights. There are many reasons why fall accidents happen. One of them is because employers ignore OSHA regulations and do not provide fall protection for workers, and many employers have been cited by OSHA for failure to provide fall protection.
Another reason why fall accidents happen at construction sites is due to the lack of proper training, which will be discussed in this article.
OSHA regulations require PA employers to provide proper training for employees who might be exposed to fall hazards. Section 1926.503(a)(1) of OSHA regulations provides:
The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.
In addition, employees must be trained by a competent person qualified to inspect, correct, maintain, disassemble fall protection systems and recognize fall hazards in the work area. See 1926.503(a)(2).
Sadly, many employees are not trained about fall protection, let alone know how to recognize fall hazards. This is especially true for temporary construction workers. Many construction sites hire temporary workers for various reasons. One of the reasons is to help the employers meet project deadlines. The project may be behind schedule, and employers hire temporary workers to help complete the project on time. Another reason is because hiring temporary workers often costs less than hiring permanent workers. Temporary workers are paid less than permanent workers. When temporary workers arrive at a construction site on the first day of work, they do not receive any training and start work immediately.
In addition to temporary workers, immigrant workers are also often not properly trained due to the language barrier. Employers may train immigrant workers, but the training is provided in English. Thus, immigrant workers may be at the training, but they do not understand what the employers are saying if English is their second language.
PA Workers’ Rights After Workplace Accidents
After construction site accidents or work related accidents, Pennsylvania workers are often injured and need medical treatment. In addition, they cannot work due to their injuries. When workers are injured at work, they are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws. Workers may receive medical benefits, i.e., their medical treatments related to the work injury are paid for by worker’s compensation. They may also receive disability pay for the period of time they cannot work due to their work related injuries.
Pennsylvania workers may also have legal rights against other parties who may have been negligent and caused their accident. Only qualified PA work injury lawyers can properly evaluate whether there are other liable parties. It is best for injured workers to speak with work accident lawyers in PA to discuss their workers’ comp claims, as well as third party liability claims.
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Jeffrey Laffey has been selected to the 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list. Mr. Laffey has been honored with the Super Lawyers designation since 2013. Each year no more than 5% of the nominated lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Prior to 2013, Mr. Laffey was selected to the Pennsylvania Rising Stars list from 2005-2008 and from 2010-2012.
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