The Jury Is In. The Legal Cost of a Fall on the Job
Construction work is dangerous. More injuries occur in the construction trade than any other profession. And the most common injury to occur on a construction job are falls. The legal costs for non-compliance can be substantial.
If there is inadequate or no fall protection in place and a worker is severely injured in a fall, OSHA will fine the contractor $156,259 per finding. Bump that up to $500,000 if the fall results in death.
And that’s just OSHA fines. If the fallen worker’s family sues the contractor (most likely), the monetary damages will be several times more. If there were no controls in place, it would constitute “gross criminal negligence” resulting in a first degree manslaughter conviction which would send the responsible party to prison for 10-15 years.
The Grim Statistics
If there was some fall protection in place that OSHA finds inadequate, the fines are same as if there was no protection at all. The good news is the criminal liability for the responsible party is less. Only 2.5-5 years for negligent homicide.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, in 2021 there were 393 falls on construction sites resulting in death. Doing the math, that results in over $196 million in just OSHA fines alone.
Mitigating Loss With Overhead Fall Protection
Serious injuries and death resulting from a fall on a jobsite is tragic. The resulting fines can bankrupt companies that result in lost jobs and income is regrettable.
Utilizing an overhead fall protection system like the Safety Pole can mitigate the injuries, deaths, fines and bankruptcies.
Still, many framing contractors say that such systems are too expensive. Wrong! They’re essentially free.
Section 179 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 allows businesses to deduct up to $1,160,000 of capital expenditures like the Safety Pole just this year alone.
Many states offer grants that can be applied to the purchase of safety equipment, including the Safety Pole. (If we can find a link of where all the states do offer grants)
Workers Compensation insurance premiums are a major expense for many framing contractors. However, one Safety Pole customer, JL Schwieters in Hugo, MN, was able to lower their Mod Rate by 30%. So much so that they are now self insured. Read more of the details here.
If you are a framing contractor there is simply no rational reason not to employ an overhead fall protection system like Safety Pole for their workers. Save money, avoid fines and save lives. Contact Safety Pole today before it’s too late.