What Factors Contribute to Dangerous Construction Sites?
There is a risk of injury in any occupation, but construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S. Why construction accidents occur at a much higher rate is due to the following factors.
Working From Heights
Working at height is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. Workers are often on rooftops, ladders, and fragile surfaces. The primary hazard when employees have to work at heights is the high risk of falling. The equipment used from an elevated level is also at risk of falling onto workers below. Employers are required to provide maintained and inspected safety equipment, train employees, and ensure the safety of the locations where working at height will occur. However, fall protection violations are one of the most commonly issued citations, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Many construction sites require employees to work on scaffolding. When scaffolding collapses, serious injuries can result in serious construction injuries – both for the individuals working on the scaffolding and other workers present at the site. Scaffolding accidents can occur for various reasons, such as failure to inspect or maintain the scaffolding properly and ensure it is properly held together, inclement weather conditions, not being adequately secured to a wall or the ground, or surrounding construction equipment preventing it from standing correctly.
Working in Trenches
Trenches are among the most dangerous worksites in the construction industry. They are typically no wider than 15 feet and are usually much deeper than they are wide. If they are not properly safeguarded and inspected, they are prone to collapse. The majority of trench collapses result in fatalities, so survival is unlikely. If you do survive a trench collapse, you will likely sustain severe and potentially permanent injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 97 trench worker deaths across the United States from 2013 to 2017 — on average, that’s about 19 deaths per year.
Defective equipment includes anything from poorly manufactured equipment to equipment that is improperly maintained. When construction workers use faulty equipment, they are more likely to suffer severe injuries. In many cases where an injury involves a defective product, there may be multiple parties who can share legal responsibility for the costs of the accident.
Construction is necessary to keep roads in good condition, but when road construction zones aren’t carefully managed, workers can get badly hurt. One of the leading types of workplace accidents is transportation-related accidents involving pedestrian workers. Approximately 60 percent of work zone deaths to construction zone workers occurred are from workers being struck by a vehicle.
What Measures Can Be Taken to Help Protect Workers?
Without a basic understanding of proper safety practices, construction workers are at a much greater risk for injuries, illness, or even death. In the event of a fatal accident, contact an experienced Philadelphia wrongful death attorney.
No matter how small or large a construction company is, they must provide health and safety training to their workers, as well as ensure that their training is updated regularly. In addition, companies can ensure employees wear appropriate safety gear, display clear signs to highlight potential hazards, inspect and maintain equipment and tools regularly, and remain in constant communication with employees to identify possible risks.