Those who work in construction know better than anyone that construction can be a dangerous business. However, there are ways that employers can help keep their workers safe. Here are four common kinds of hazards that construction workers face.
Slips and falls
While anyone who works on their feet may slip or fall, falls at a construction site tend to be more serious. Falling from a height, onto concrete or falling with weight can all increase the seriousness of the instance.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls regularly make up the greatest number of fatalities for construction workers.
The OSHA recommends that workers use a variety of methods to prevent serious falls:
- Elevated platforms
- Guardrail Systems
- Floor hole covers
- Safety nets or body harnesses
Millions of construction workers frequently use scaffolds during their workday. When these structures are not properly made or used, they present a serious threat to worker safety.
The OSHA estimates that proper protection from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 fatalities every year. These protections include:
- Ensuring that scaffolds are stable and can carry four times the maximum intended load.
- Placing scaffolds on stable ground
- Placing scaffolds at least 10 feet away from electric power lines
- Inspecting scaffolds at regular intervals.
It’s no secret that construction workers work with dangerous equipment. This equipment includes cranes, forklifts and power tools. Injuries from machinery can come as a result of improper use as well as a lack of maintenance.
While dangerous equipment seems like it would come with the territory, employers set the tone of their work environments and should ensure that equipment is properly maintained and that employees receive the proper training for each piece of equipment
Construction workers also face hazards by way of exposure to certain materials. This can include dangerous chemicals as well as silica.
Silica is a hard compound that makes up quartz, sandstone and other rocks. Breathing in silica dust can cause silicosis, a severe respiratory condition that prevents lungs from taking in oxygen properly.
Employers can help lower risks associated with hazardous materials by:
- Keeping a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for every hazardous material on site.
- Making the MSDS accessible to all employees
- Providing clean-up kits and training for spills
- Storing chemicals safely and securely
Although the construction business will never be 100% risk free, employers can take steps to ensure that workers are as protected as possible.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you should contact an experienced construction accident attorney. They can help negotiate a worker’s comp claim, determine who is liable for your injury and advise you on your next step.