Every day on a construction site is unique. Construction is a dangerous occupation, involving numerous hazards and risks due to usage of tools, heavy machinery, working at heights, and the number of people performing various tasks on and around a given site. It is no wonder that construction sites have a large number of recorded accidents and fatalities.
Construction and The Fatal Four
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified what they are calling the “Fatal Four,” which are the top four causes of construction worker deaths each year. These include:
- Being struck by objects
- Being caught in or between objects.
The Bureau of Labor statistics reported that in 2015 almost 40 percent of construction worker deaths were due to falls. Struck-by deaths were just shy of 10 percent, electrocutions at almost nine percent, and caught in/between deaths at a rate of just over seven percent.
Serious, yet non-fatal injuries are also prevalent in construction workplaces. Among the most frequent causes of non-fatal accidents is contact with parts and materials such as structural metal, pipes, and lumber. Contact with fasteners like nails and screws and electric parts such as building wire, generators, and power lines also factor into injuries.
A significant number of injuries are caused each year by use of both power tools like drills, as well as manual hand tools like hammers.
Other major sources of workplace injuries include machinery like cranes, backhoes, bulldozers and highway vehicles.
Injuries can also be caused by overexertion, which can lead to muscle strains and sprains, back injuries, heat exhaustion, and further dangers from impaired judgment.
Construction Site Safety Tips
Most construction accidents and fatalities can be avoided when proper precautions are taken consistently. Eliminating a hazard is always the first defense. Protective equipment can act to further reduce any risk of accident or injury. Training on proper handling of tools and equipment, as well as use of personal protective equipment, is vital.
To avoid falls, make sure areas are well lit and clear of debris. If there is a significant drop-off, having some type of guard rail or a tie-off program needs to be in place. Proper footwear should be worn at all times. Safety shoes come in a variety of types, but often include good traction, ankle support, and steel toes.
To avoid being struck by objects, make sure the work area is arranged so that material storage is cordoned off and easily seen. If necessary, materials should be secured. Workers should wear a hard hat on site.
To avoid being hit by vehicles in a road construction work zone, be sure that proper barriers and signs are in place. Workers that can be exposed to traffic should wear reflective vests to improve visibility.
Electrocutions can happen from inadvertently hitting an overhead wire with equipment, or by contacting a live wire directly. Locate and identify utilities before starting work. Be sure to know where overhead power lines are, and take care that heavy equipment use will not interfere with the wires. Before working on any equipment in an electrical circuit, use a lock-out/tag-out procedure to assure that the power is off.
After an Accident
OSHA requires employers to record and report all workplace injuries. If you are injured at work, be sure to inform your employer. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation to cover some medical costs and missed work, but that coverage is limited and may not be entirely applicable. It is important to act quickly to make sure you can be fully compensated for any on-the-job injuries.
Contact McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to Speak to a Delaware County Construction Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a construction accident, don’t delay. Contact a Delaware County Construction Accident Lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us today at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. With offices throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout the state, Delaware, and New Jersey.