Construction sites are dangerous places with over 250,000 construction sites in the United States. This is a look at potential hazards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that approximately 6.5 million people work in construction at over 250,000 construction sites per day in the United States. Unfortunately, construction sites are dangerous places where many types of injuries can occur, and the fatal injury rate in this industry is higher than the national average.
Construction Site Safety Hazards
Construction sites, by virtue of their unfinished nature, will always contain safety hazards. Potential hazards are varied and abundant. They may include:
Falls from height
Falls are the number one danger at construction sites. They account for the highest number of deaths each year. Unstable and unsafe working surfaces, misuse of fall protection equipment, and human error create dangerous situations for construction workers. Guardrail systems should be present to protect workers near the edges of floors and roofs, floor holes should be covered, and safety nets or body harnesses should be used. Ladders and stairways also present fall dangers. OSHA estimates nearly 25,000 injuries and 36 deaths per year due to falls from stairways and ladders. Ladders must be structurally sound, clean, and long enough for the job. They must be well clear of electrical components and capable of supporting the weight of workers and equipment. Stairways must be kept clear and not allowed to become slippery. All but the smallest stairways must have handrails.
Scaffold-related accidents account for about 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths each year. Scaffolds must be rigid and solidly placed. No unstable objects may be used as supporting structures. Scaffold must not be placed or moved without the supervision of a qualified person to ensure its safety. Damaged elements must be promptly replaced or repaired. Scaffolds must be a safe distance from power lines.
Trenches must be properly constructed and supported to prevent their collapse. A professional engineer must design a protective system for trenches 20 or more feet deep. Exits must be readily accessible, and trenches must be inspected after events that may compromise their safety, such as rainstorms and significant vibrations.
If proper safety protocols are not followed, electric shock is a significant risk at construction sites. Work on electrical systems should be done only when the power is shut off. Damaged electrical cords or cables must be replaced. Electrical tools and equipment must be maintained in safe condition and regularly checked for damage and defects. All equipment such as ladders, scaffolds, and cranes must be kept well clear of power lines.
Repetitive motion injuries
Repeated actions using the same motion, especially the use of power tools with strong vibrations, may lead to chronic and permanent injury.
Failure to use proper protective equipment
Hard hats should be worn whenever there is danger of falling objects or bumps to the head. Safety glasses and face shields should be worn to prevent injury around electrical hazards and flying debris. Appropriate gloves and safety-toe and slip and puncture-resistant shoes should be worn. Proper protection should be used around chemicals.
How to Prevent Construction Site Injuries
It is the responsibility of managers and supervisors at construction sites to ensure that proper safety practices are rigorously and strictly followed to prevent injury to workers. Construction sites are full of potential danger areas, and workers must adhere to safety regulations to keep the work as safe as possible.
What if unsafe practices lead to injury?
Under pressure to complete projects quickly, managers and workers may neglect proper safety protocols. Accidents can happen easily at construction sites with their plentiful hazards. If you’ve been injured in a construction site accident due to improper safety practices, you may have a case for a personal injury lawyer. Learn more about accident law and the options available to you from a personal injury attorney.