California residents may have noticed that the number of high-rise construction projects being undertaken in the stare has increased recently as the economy slowly recovers from the 2008 financial crisis. Many of these projects use scaffolding systems that are raised or lowered mechanically because they are simple to put into place and relatively easy to dismantle after the work has been completed. However, the systems were developed after OSHA implemented its scaffolding safety rules, and some safety experts feel that protocols should be updated in light of the new technology.
Mast-climbers are platforms that are raised or lowered after being attached towers connected to the wall of a building, and they are often used by window installers or masons to perform finishing work. However, the systems are complex to use, and workers require specialized training before they are able to operate them safely. Some observers have speculated that a lack of this type of training may have contributed to a March 2015 construction accident in North Carolina that claimed the lives of three Latino construction workers.
The North Carolina accident also brought attention to a disproportionate injury rate among Latino workers in the construction industry. It is believed that language barriers on construction sites may contribute to a higher number of workplace injuries among Latinos, and some point out that these workers are sometimes reluctant to file complaints about unsafe conditions.
Workers' compensation insurance provides financial benefits to those who have been injured while working. While the process is not intended to be adversarial, it may become contentious when employers claim that injuries did not occur at work or that employees are exaggerating how badly they were hurt. An attorney who handles these matters can provide representation to an injured worker throughout the process.
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