Injuries Resulting from Climbing Accidents
On countless job sites, it is common for workers to climb many feet above the ground to conduct a variety of tasks. An estimated 65% of construction employees work on scaffolds frequently, so it is no surprise that many accidents at construction sites involve climbing. Tower climbers, or those trusted to build and repair cell towers, typically scale 100 plus feet tall towers to replace antennas, cables, other network gear, or check on the status of parts. The death rate from climbing accidents in this industry is ten times that of construction.
Employees injured in climbing accidents on the jobsite may receive workers’ compensation benefits to compensate for their medical bills, missed days at work, and more. Climbing accident victims who suffer permanent disabling injuries as a result of the fall may receive payments based on a percentage of their pre-injury wage. Further, family members of an employee killed in climbing accidents on the job may be eligible for death benefits, which can include payments based on a percentage of the employee’s wages and a burial allowance.Common Causes of Climbing Accidents
Jobs across Maine require employees to scale vast heights to complete tasks such as scaffolding, construction work, cell tower repair, painting, window washing, and the like. Climbing accidents can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the leading causes of climbing accidents include:
- Faulty or misused equipment—records from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reveal that nearly a third of all tower climbing deaths involve problems with equipment. In construction, thousands of climbing accidents involve faulty scaffolding, ladders, and the like.
- Inadequate protection or safety gear—all workers who climb must be outfitted with appropriate safety gear, which can include helmets, rope grabs, safety harnesses, safety glasses, and tool belts, depending upon the demands of the task. Employers have an obligation to provide the requisite safety gear and protection, and that they are educated on its proper use.
- Lack of training—any employee who will climb on the job must be adequately trained on how to perform their jobs safely and effectively. This can include training on proper footing, setting up of equipment like scaffolding and ladders, and use of safety gear.
- Failure to enforce safety regulations—though safety regulations are generally in place in every worksite, supervisors sometimes disregard these rules and allow climbers to follow dangerous practices, such as climbing a cell tower without a safety harness. A lack of enforcement can lead to deadly results for the climbing employee.
- Time pressure—strict time deadlines and employer pressures can cause an employee to feel rushed to finish work as quickly as possible. Haste leads to climbers cutting corners on safety and acting without prudence, which in turn results in accident and injury.
Maine workers expose themselves to dangerous situations every day in order to provide for their loved ones. When these employees are injured on the jobsite, employers can be held liable for their damages sustained, including medical bills and lost wages.
In Maine, nearly all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides coverage for employees injured in the course and scope of employment. Though climbing accidents clearly fall under this realm, full coverage is not automatic or guaranteed. Climbing accidents frequently happen to subcontractors, who may face obstacles determining the correct party liable for their injuries. Further, insurance companies often complicate the process and resist paying for claims. It is vital to retain an experienced Maine workers’ compensation attorney to obtain a full recovery.Maine Employee Rights Group: Lifting You Back Up When You Fall
The legal team at Maine Employee Rights Group represents injured employees statewide and will zealously fight for any employee who is injured as the result of a climbing accident on the job. We will guide you through the claims process and litigation and get you back on your feet. Call us today at 207.874.0905 to schedule a consultation.