The Most Common Construction Site Hazards and How They Can Be Prevented
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Construction is a perilous industry, loaded with potential (and avoidable) injury risks. The Occupational Safety and also Wellness Management Administration (OSHA) recognizes that construction site fatalities cost more than typical in all sectors of the country.
Injuries, as well as fatalities in construction, are typically the result of four common hazards: falls, trench collapse, scaffold collapse, electrical shock, arc flash or arc blast, failure to utilize correct individual protective equipment, as well as repetitive motion injuries.
In order to keep workers safe, employers need to take the necessary precautions to prevent these construction site hazards. Here are the most common construction site hazards and how they can be prevented:
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, accounting for over 37% of construction fatalities. They can be caused by many factors, including unsecured scaffolding, ladders that are not properly used or maintained, and slippery surfaces.
To prevent falls, OSHA recommends the following:
- Inspect scaffolding before each use to ensure it is secure and stable
- Use safety harnesses and line when working on scaffolds
- Keep work areas clean and free of debris
- Use ladders correctly – do not stand on the top rung, face the ladder when ascending or descending, and maintain three points of contact
Trenches are often used in construction to provide access to underground utility lines. They can be very dangerous because they are prone to collapse. When a trench collapses, it can bury workers alive.
Trench collapse preventative measures:
- Inspect the trench before work begins to ensure it is stable
- Keep the trench free of water to prevent collapse
- Shore up the sides of the trench with wood or other materials
- Wear a protective helmet if working in a trench
According to OSHA, about 2.3 million United State employees make use of scaffolds for their construction job. While scaffolds are an efficient way to complete many construction tasks, they can be dangerous if they are not used properly.
Scaffold collapses are often caused by incorrect assembly, overloaded scaffolds, or damaged or defective scaffold components. To prevent scaffold collapses:
- Inspect the scaffold before each use to ensure it is secure and stable
- Do not overload the scaffold
- Use only scaffold components that are in good condition
- Wear a safety harness if working on an elevated scaffold
Electrical Shock, Arc Flash or Arc Blast
Electricity is one of the most common hazards on construction sites. Electric shock can occur when workers come into contact with live electrical wires. Arc flash or arc blast can occur when an electrical current passes through the air, causing an explosion.
To prevent electrical shocks, arc flash, or arc blast, OSHA recommends the following:
- Keep work areas free of clutter to prevent trips and falls
- Do not use damaged or defective electrical equipment
- Use only properly grounded outlets
- Keep work areas well ventilated
- Use proper personal protective equipment, including rubber gloves and non-conductive tools
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries are common in the construction industry. They can be caused by many factors, including the use of vibrating tools, repetitive tasks, and awkward positions.
Here are some preventative measures recommended to help avoid repetitive motion injuries:
- Use mechanical aids when possible to reduce the amount of manual labor
- Take breaks often and stretch to avoid fatigue
- Use the proper tools for the job
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from vibration
According to OSHA, 24,882 building and construction injuries and up to 36 building and construction fatalities annually might arise from falls on stairways and ladders. There are many methods to prevent ladders from coming to be safety and security risks.
- Inspect the ladder before using it
- Do not use damaged or defective ladders
- Use only properly rated ladders for the job
- Maintain three points of contact when ascending or descending a ladder
- Keep work areas clean and free of debris to prevent trips and falls
- Ladders should be placed on a level, stable surface
- Do not stand on the top rung of a ladder
Wearing proper personal protective equipment can help protect you from falls and other injuries.
What to Do If You Are Injured On the Job
If you are injured on the job, seek medical attention immediately. If your injury is serious, call 911.
Be sure to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. Your employer should then file a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf.
You will likely be required to provide documentation of your injury, so be sure to keep all medical records and documentation related to the injury and your treatment.
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits.
It is important to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help you navigate the claims process and ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
How a Construction Accident Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced construction accident attorney can help you understand your rights and options and fight for the compensation you deserve.
A construction accident attorney can:
- Investigate the accident to determine who is at fault
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Handle all communication with the insurance company
- Negotiate a settlement on your behalf
- Take your case to trial if necessary
- Fight for the maximum compensation possible
Although you are not required to have an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim, having an experienced advocate on your side can help ensure that you receive the full benefits you are entitled to.
Talk to a Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Keith Zaid Law have fought for the rights of injured workers for over 40 years. We will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 856-485-6818 or contacting us online.