There are numerous protocols in place to help protect construction workers from sustaining an injury on the job. There are specific safety measures that need to be taken while workers are on ladders, scaffolding, and other elevated areas, such as roofs.
Despite these precautions, construction workers still have the highest rate of occupational injuries in any major industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,102 people died in construction accidents in 2019 . For every 100 full-time workers, there are 2.8 accidents resulting in injury.
According to one study published in the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, a concept called “risk compensation” may help to explain some injuries in the construction industry . Essentially, the very safety measures implemented to protect workers embolden them to take greater risks, leading to serious injuries.
So how do you protect construction workers, such as roofers, when safety measures may be part of the problem? Keep reading to learn more about the study results and what steps may be taken in the construction industry to help curb risk-taking behavior.
To evaluate the role that risk-taking may play in the risk of occupational injuries in the construction industry, a team of engineering researchers created a mixed-reality environment that enabled test subjects to feel like they were working up high on a sloped roof.
The researchers recruited 33 students with previous construction experience and trained them on installing roofing shingles, providing them with varying levels of protection. Some wore personal protective equipment such as hard hats but had no fall protection. Others had a fall-arrest system. Another group had a fall-arrest system plus a perimeter guardrail.
The students were outfitted with sensors that tracked their movements and behavioral responses as they completed the roofing tasks. The result? The participants equipped with the highest level of fall protection had “a sense of invulnerability.” They would step closer to the edge of the roof, lean over the edge, and generally take more risks. The false sense of security provided by the safety equipment increased participants’ risk-taking behavior by up to 55 percent.
The researchers noted that “such results may explain why injury rates have remained at worrisome levels despite advances and additions of protective measures within the construction industry.”
The scientists believe that the construction industry may be able to implement safety interventions that reduce the risk of workers taking unnecessary risks. Changes that may help reduce the risk of injury include:
● Raising workers’ awareness of the concept of risk compensation
● Providing workers with safety equipment that provides real-time warnings
Workers’ Compensation for Construction Site Injuries
If you suffered an injury while working at a construction site, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can reimburse you for accident-related medical expenses, replace a portion of your lost wages, and provide disability compensation while you recover. But applying for workers’ compensation in Arizona can be tricky. It’s easy for claims to get delayed by all the red tape.
Improve your chances of getting timely workers’ compensation benefits by contacting a lawyer at Matt Fendon Law Group. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can review your case and help you apply for benefits or appeal denials. You may also have the option to file a third-party lawsuit if someone other than your employer is responsible for your injuries.