It is a well-known fact that construction workers face a high level of risk on the job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2020, construction workers saw their highest annual fatal injury count (308) in the last five years.
Construction workers accounted for nearly a third of all fatal injuries in construction and extraction occupations in 2020, the highest proportion since 2016.
Also, during that same year, the incidence rate for nonfatal falls, slips and trips was higher for construction workers than all other workers.
It is important employers understand the risks associated with construction jobs in order to prevent construction accidents. There are a number of common injuries in construction that can cause serious harm to employees working on-site.
By having an accident prevention plan for construction and taking specific site safety measures, employers can create a safe environment for their workers. In this article, we will look at several ways in which tragic construction accidents can be prevented.
Utilizing Safety Gear
It is imperative that construction workers are equipped with personal protective equipment and provided with training about how to use it. Some of the basic safety gear for most construction sites includes fall safety protection (harnesses), hard hats, steel-toed boots, hearing protection, eye protection (goggles), gloves and even masks, in cases where toxic or hazardous materials are involved.
Serious accidents could occur if workers are not provided with the right safety equipment. In addition to providing this equipment, they should also be properly maintained.
Defective or poorly maintained equipment could increase the risk of a construction accident.
Having an Accident Prevention Plan
Each worksite and employer in construction should have a strong accident prevention plan, which should be communicated to employees and supervisors.
This plan should include developing safety protocols and requiring all employees and supervisors to follow those protocols at the site. Companies should also periodically review this accident prevention plan and revise it at necessary to enhance safety.
Regular safety meetings to review safety protocols can also help create more awareness among employees in addition to keeping team leaders and supervisors up to date on any changes and developments.
In the case that an accident does happen, injured victims will want to know how to make a construction accident report.
A number of tragic construction accidents can be prevented with routine or regular worksite inspections. Supervisors, safety teams or team leaders should conduct worksite inspections daily or as needed to identify any potential risks to workers.
Any dangers that are identified during these inspections should be remedied right away.
Safety Training for Workers
In addition to providing job training for workers, safety training must also be provided. All workers should be required to complete a safety-training program before starting work under the accident prevention plan.
Ongoing training and refresher courses for workers and their supervisors can also help prevent construction accidents.
Reporting Construction Safety Issues
Employers are also required to keep track of injuries and accidents on construction sites. Workers should have access to this information so they can be aware of dangerous locations or equipment on the jobsite.
Employees should also be able to report any hazards or risks easily and freely. Employers must take these reports seriously and address them in a timely manner.
Importance of Proper Signage
Posting safety signage that is clearly visible can also prevent construction accidents on a job site. Any locations that have risks such as falling debris should be cordoned off.
Any hazardous locations should also be marked with signs so workers as well as passers by can be safe.
How to Prevent Accidents That Occur Frequently at Construction Sites
The accidents that occur most commonly at construction sites are falls, struck by falling objects, electrocution and being caught in/between machinery.
Here are some of the ways in which these specific types of construction accidents can be prevented by following safety procedures set forth by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Slips, trips and falls: OSHA requires employees to use a cover or railing and toe-board to protect any floor holes that could cause workers to fall through them. Slip-and-fall accidents should be prevented by ensuring there are no slick surfaces. Employees must also be provided with personal protective equipment to prevent falls such as safety harnesses, handrails and safety nets.
Falling objects: A number of construction accidents occur because a worker is struck by an object that falls from a height. This could result in major injuries. In order to prevent struck-by injuries, workers must have protection such as high-visibility reflector vests, goggles, face guards and hard hats. Worksites must have lookouts and supervisors on duty to ensure that vehicles or moving equipment does not strike workers.
Electrocutions: Because construction sites often have wiring and machinery in use, electrocution hazards are common. OSHA requires employers to provide workers with protective equipment such as eye and facial protection, gloves and non-conductive boots when necessary. Supervisors should ensure that workers are not operating near live wires. Electrocution accident victims can Learn more about electrocution accident lawsuits here.
Contact with heavy machinery: Large pieces of machinery and equipment can pose a serious risk for construction workers. In such cases, OSHA requires that all machinery and heavy equipment be properly guarded. Employers must also take the necessary steps to protect workers during demolition. Excavations that are deeper than 5 feet should be safeguarded by using adequate sloping and shoring.
Contacting an Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident caused by negligence on the part of an employer or a third party, our experienced Los Angeles construction accident lawyers can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
At Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC, we provide competent, compassionate legal representation for injured workers and their families. Call us at (323) 782-0535 to find out how we can help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.