Construction Accident Prevention
You have seen the signs. If you have ever worked in a setting where safety is a heightened concern, you have seen the sign: “____ Days Without An Accident.” When you consider that one in five workplace fatalities in this country are construction workers, you only scratch the surface of the role that safety and accident prevention play in the construction industry. It might not have quite the heroic reputation of a police officer or fireman, but the occupation of construction worker does come with a similar sense of risking one’s well-being every day you show up for work. An indication of the role safety plays is the existence of safety engineers, whose sole job is to create and enforce safety programs on construction sites. The counterpart would have to be the construction law attorney, whose role essentially begins where that of the engineer fails. So much knowledge and prevention exists between these two points.
Four Types of Construction Accidents
The “Fatal Four” may sound like a team of comic book supervillains, but it is actually the name OSHA has given to the four most common causes of death on the job. OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and one of OSHA’s primary functions is construction accident prevention. So what are these four types of preventable yet fatal accidents?
Caught in-between or crushed: So many types of machinery, especially those with gears, are susceptible to workers’ limbs getting wedged or caught in-between. There may not have been proper safety guards or the worker may not have been paying proper attention. There could be a cave-in, in which case an employee could be crushed under the weight of falling debris.
Electrocution: Power tools alone are a danger as long as they are powered by electricity. Just one defective or damaged tool could lead to electrocution. This is without taking into account being surrounded by overhead power lines, exposed wiring or overloaded circuits. Any equipment that has not been grounded is a constant concern.
Struck by objects: Most of the time, gear, such as hard hats and goggles, are necessary due to the ever present danger of objects that might swing or drop or fly in your general direction. Think of the threat a tiny sliver of wood poses.
Falls: If it is not an object falling, it could very well be you or a co-worker. It might not be so bad if you slip or trip on the same level. Falls from heights such as roofing or scaffolding, however, also occur all too often. As a matter of fact, let us focus on scaffolding safety before opening up to prevention tips in general.
Construction Accident Prevention and Scaffolding
According to OSHA, 65% of construction workers do their job on scaffolds. OSHA’s statistics continue to tell us that 4500 scaffolding related deaths occur each year — planks give away, supports give away. Here are some OSHA tips, specifically related to preventing scaffolding accidents:
- Inform and empower employees. It is not enough to just educate workers regarding known hazards. You must empower them to inform each other and watch out for one another.
- If an employee feels they must inform the boss about safety hazards, he or she must be able do so without fear of losing their job.
- Once communication is facilitated, it is all about training, training, training. There should be training on use of all dangerous materials.
- Assign each employee an injury prevention responsibility.
- Inspect tools and materials to ensure they comply with safety standards.
- Remove scrap, debris and any other tripping hazards from the work area.
More Construction Accident Prevention
Since 65% of construction workers are standing on scaffolding during their work day, focusing on the safety of that environmental factor is a good idea. What are some other general measures that can be taken to ensure optimum construction accident prevention?
Hold regular safety meetings: With some jobs, there are just too many moving parts, too much fluctuation on a daily basis, to simply give instructions once and then hit cruise control. Anyone with new or pertinent information, especially the kind impacting safety, must be given a daily forum.
Do not forget the workers: From a theoretical standpoint, workers might be an example of moving parts but let us not lose touch with reality. They are human beings. Make sure they get breaks, meals and plenty of hydration.
Do not just train, supervise: Much of what can be said about training has been said above. However, remember to avoid that cruise control. If you are in a supervisory position, maintain that relationship and be the “eye in the sky,” scanning the big picture and keeping the site locked down for safety.
The use of construction law attorneys is a statistical inevitability once you consider what we have discussed and the volume of data there is on the subject of safety and construction accident prevention. For more questions regarding construction law and construction site accidents, contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for a free consultation.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Call (609) 585-0606 or click the button below to schedule an appointment