Approximately 6.5 million individuals work in one of the 252 thousand construction sites across the United States each day. As I mention on my website, BanvilleLaw.com, construction is one of the country’s most dangerous occupations. Unfortunately, the fatal injury rate for this industry is far higher than what the national average is across all of the industries out there.
Construction workers can get injured from any number of different things leaving them struggling to figure out how to make ends meet while they recover and get back on their feet again. There are five construction hazards that tend to cause the most injuries on site. Below are the reasons to be aware of these specific construction site dangers.
The Construction Five
Approximately 2.3 million workers use scaffolds each day. If scaffolding isn’t properly used or erected, there is a chance that a worker could end up falling and getting hurt. By protecting workers from an injury with this equipment, it could save approximately 50 fatalities and 4,500 injuries annually.
The scaffolding used must be rigid, sound and capable of carrying not only its own weight, but that of four times the maximum load without any displacement or settling. It also needs to be erected on a solid piece of land.
Falls are the biggest reason why so many construction workers end up losing their lives. There are a number of things that come into play when dealing with falls. Some of those factors include the misuse or lack of proper fall protection equipment, an unstable working surface or just plain human error.
Using a safety net, guardrail, restraint system or fall arrest system could help prevent injuries and deaths due to falling on the job. You might want to look into using an elevated platform to give the worker a safer working environment or a body harness to catch them if they do start to slip.
Ladders are another common source of fatalities and injuries for construction workers. According to OSHA, there are close to 25 thousand injuries annually and upwards of 36 fatalities due to a fall on a ladder or stairway. About half of all these injuries were serious enough that the workers ended up having to take time off work to recover and get back on their feet again. Make sure the right ladder is being used for the task at hand. It should also be inspected for any dirt or grease that could cause an individual to slip, stickers or paint that might be covering up defects or structural damage making it unstable to use.
Many construction workers end up slipping, falling or tripping on stairways. It is crucial that stairway treads are free of any debris, materials or other dangerous objects. If there is a slippery condition, it needs to be taken care of promptly. The tread should cover the whole landing and step to make it as safe as possible.
Dozens of individuals are killed and hundreds are injured because of a trench collapse. If the trench isn’t protected, workers should avoid entering it completely. Make sure a protective system for trenches is in place at all times. A professional engineer can help design a protective system for any trenches 20-feet in depth or more.
While these are only a few of the injuries that occur each year, there are countless others that happen on sites. Construction is considered one of the most dangerous industries to work in and rightfully so. Safety should never be taken lightly.
Laurence Banville. Esq is the managing partner and face of Banville Law. Laurence is licensed to practice law in the state of New York. Originally from Ireland, Banville moved to the United States of America where he worked at law firms, refining his litigation and brief writing crafts. He is also the recipient of the Irish Legal 100 and the Top 40 Under 40 awards.