According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of construction site accidents. When workers are six feet or more above a ground-floor level, they can be at serious risk of grave injury or death. Construction site workers often fall from roofs, scaffolding, and ladders, and most of these falls are preventable. According to the CDC, falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction and accounted for nearly a third of all fatalities in the industry in 2016 alone.
In fact, fatalities from falls on construction sites rose faster than overall deaths on constructions sites beginning in 2013 and continuing through 2016. In the general industry, fall protection must be provided at an elevation of four feet. However, in the construction industry, fall protection is only required to be provided beginning at six feet. In addition, while guardrails should be installed around runways, elevated open-sided platforms, elevated floors and holes in the floors on construction sites, this is not always the case.
Injured Constructions Workers Must Turn to Workers’ Compensation
Workers who fall on a Florida construction site and sustain serious injuries are likely to be affected primarily by Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. If the employer is the only party responsible for ensuring safety on a construction site, workers’ compensation benefits are probably the only benefits available. Construction businesses in the state of Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for every employee, including contractors. Up to three corporate officers can be exempted, only if each of those officers can demonstrate ownership of at least 10 percent of the company.
Construction industry employers who operate in the state without required workers’ compensation coverage risk civil penalties, and a stop-work order. This stop-work order typically requires that all operations stop until the law has been complied with and a penalty has been paid. The penalty is usually equal to twice what the employer would have paid in premiums for the workers’ compensation insurance. An employer who fails to comply with a stop-work order could face criminal charges.
Contractors in the state also have a duty to confirm that all subcontractors carry workers’ compensation coverage. If a contractor fails to confirm this compliance, he or she could face additional penalties.
Workers who fall on a construction site are entitled to have their medical expenses paid under Florida worker’s compensation laws, as well as being partially paid for time away from work if their injuries were severe enough to prevent an immediate return to work. However, obtaining these benefits isn’t always easy without an experienced and skilled Florida workers’ compensation law firm on your side.
Work with An Experienced Florida Workers Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve been injured at work, collecting the benefits you are entitled to isn’t always easy. Without an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney on your side, you could make critical mistakes that may affect your ability to collect the money you need during this difficult time. If your accident resulted in a serious injury, you might find it even more difficult to collect disability benefits. When this occurs, you need a law firm with the experience and resources to tackle these tough cases. Contact Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. online or at (561) 687-5660 today for a free consultation. We offer evening and weekend appointments in our offices in Palm Beach County, Martin County, and Orlando.