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Falls from heights frequently cause construction site injuries

Safety authorities say that falls from heights make up a significant percentage of workplace injuries nationwide, including Tennessee, and that many of which are fatal. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to comply with strict safety standards when it comes to working on scaffolds or other elevated areas. The regulations cover the need for adequate fall arrest equipment, including a harness, lanyard and a secure anchor point to prevent catastrophic construction site injuries.

An example of noncompliance involves a recent tragedy in another state in which a construction worker fell to his death. Reportedly, an emergency call was received shortly after 10 a.m. First responders arrived at the construction site of a condominium complex to find the 37-year-old worker had fallen from where he was working on storm shutters on the eighth floor.

A preliminary report indicates that the worker was wearing a fall arrest harness. However, although his lanyard was tethered to an anchor point on the top of the building, it appears that it was not secure. Investigators say the harnessing gear fell to the ground along with the worker.

The workers' compensation insurance program for the state typically covers the surviving family members of victims of fatal construction site injuries. Though the deceased worker in this case was a co-owner of the business, most states -- including Tennessee -- require workers' compensation coverage for all employees of a construction company. When a similar accident happens in Tennessee, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can assess the circumstances and suggest the most appropriate way in which the surviving family members can pursue financial relief.

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