And How To Find The Right Construction Accident Lawyer
Construction is responsible for more workplace accidents than any other industry in the USA. Many of these accidents are preventable. A workers compensation lawyer can help you after a construction accident, but prevention is the best option. It is important to understand how construction accidents can happen and what standards your work environment has in place for your safety.
Without the proper guidelines being followed, construction can be a dangerous profession. In the USA, more than 1 in 5 workplace fatalities in the private sector are in construction. The four most common fatal construction accidents being falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught in/between. These are known as the fatal four.
Construction Accident Fatalities
There is a real risk of serious accidents in the construction industry. So it is important for both workers and employers to be aware of potential hazards. If you have been injured on the job, consult a workplace injury lawyer. This article will help you identify safety hazards, to be aware of some of the risks on the job.
The 9 Most Common Construction Accidents
The nine most common construction accidents include:
- Struck by Object
- Caught In/Between
- Tripping Hazards
- Defective Equipment
- Vehicle Accidents
- Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Of the fatal four construction accidents, falls are the most common, accounting for 38.8% of construction accidents. Safety regulations for falls are designed to help prevent these accidents but are frequently neglected. The duty to have fall protection is one of the most often violated standards.
The most common workplace fall injuries occur on ladders, scaffolds, and roofs. But there is real danger anytime you are working at heights. If you are working at heights make sure you are in a safe environment to prevent construction accidents. That means having a trained site supervisor, having the right equipment for the job, and having the proper training to use the fall protection equipment.
2. Struck by Object
Another of the fatal four, struck by objects, is potentially deadly. Struck by object accidents include falling tools, improper use or failure to use personal protective equipment, and being struck by equipment.
Many of these construction accidents can be prevented, or have reduced severity by using the right protective equipment. For example, wearing hardhats, safety glasses, gloves, safety boots, and goggles. Worksites have signs posted showing what equipment you need to wear. Always follow these signs.
Securing objects is another preventative measure to reduce the frequency of construction accidents. This includes stacking materials properly, inspecting tools and guards, and ensuring tools and materials are secured to prevent falling. If you are unsure, you have the right to refuse unsafe work conditions.
People often underestimate the risks associated with electricity. Even a low voltage shock can kill. In fact, it can be even worse as low voltage shock victims do not respond to artificial respiration as well as high voltage shock victims. Never underestimate the risks when working with electricity.
Taking the right safety precautions can prevent most workplace electrical accidents. Turning off the power before cleaning or maintenance is one important step to prevent electrocution. After turning off, test the unit with a circuit to ensure it is off. Many electrical accidents occur on a construction site when systems fail to turn off.
Being aware of your environment is important as well. Exposed, uninsulated, or frayed wires can be clear giveaways of electrical hazards. Be aware of wet areas and warning signs before entering an area where you may be exposed to electricity.
In addition to prevention, plans should be in place to deal with construction accidents that may occur. For example, the supervisor should be trained in CPR. Many high voltage shock victims can be saved through artificial respiration. Having someone on site trained can be the difference between life and death.
4. Caught In/Between
Getting caught in or between equipment or machinery is perhaps the most gruesome of the fatal four. These are accidents that can happen quickly on a construction site.
Being aware of moving parts, loose clothing or hair, and potential hazards will help to keep you safe. Respect equipment and barricades. Give them the distance they need to keep yourself and others safe. Ensure all equipment has the necessary guards and is in proper working order before operation.
5. Tripping Hazards
Operating around hazardous materials, heavy machinery, or at heights, can make tripping hazards especially dangerous. As with most of the items on this list, awareness of hazards is an important way to prevent tripping accidents in the workplace.
Loose unmarked wires and ropes can become tripping hazards. Properly storing, securing, or taping down of these hazards can prevent the possibility of trips. Taking care to minimize and identify hazards makes the workplace safer for you and your coworkers.
6. Defective Equipment
Defective equipment is a big danger in construction. Regular maintenance is one important way to avoid dangers from defects. Before using equipment check the maintenance log to ensure it has received proper upkeep. This helps to make sure everything is in safe working order, as well as extending the lifespan of equipment.
Before using equipment do a quick inspection and walk around before operating. This will alert you to any potential defects or hazards.
Establishing fault on accidents involving defective equipment can be complicated. The best thing you can do is be trained on equipment to recognize defects and to inspect equipment and maintenance logs before use.
7. Hearing Loss/Excessive Noise Damage
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by loud sounds. Short bursts of extreme sound rupture the eardrum. Effects are often immediate and permanent. Long exposure to loud sound can also cause hearing loss.
Being around construction equipment puts you at risk of noise damage. Being around a forklift (~90 decibels) regularly for a few hours a day can result in permanent damage. Louder equipment, like a chainsaw (115-120 decibels) can cause permanent hearing damage in just 15 minutes.
If you are using or in the proximity of loud equipment, hearing protection is a necessity. Construction earmuffs can significantly reduce noise damage if used properly, especially if combined with ear plugs.
Time under extreme noise is as much of a factor as the volume of extreme noise. So giving yourself a 10-minute break from high noise levels can give your ears a chance to recover.
8. Vehicle Accidents
Construction vehicles are powerful pieces of equipment made for specific purposes. Misuse, unsafe practices, or poor maintenance can make them deadly.
If you are operating a vehicle check the maintenance logs and do a walk around and inspection before use. If there is a seat belt, wear it. Only carry other passengers if there is a seat built for that purpose, and never exceed the lift or load capacity.
Whether you are operating the machine or near the machine, communication is crucial. The driver should be able to see other workers in the area. That means communicating, wearing high visibility gear, and avoiding blind spots.
9. Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Montana does not have its own approved occupational health and safety program. Instead, businesses use OSHA. Both private and public companies are responsible for training in occupational health and safety.
Hazard Communication Standard and Material Safety Data Sheet are required training for those dealing with potential exposure to harmful chemicals.
Chemicals need to be well, and properly, labeled and the material safety data sheet should be readily accessible. Safety equipment for chemicals used, such as an eyewash station, is required. Legal representation and OSHA standards protect workers in the event of chemical exposure.
Have You Been Injured In a Construction Accident?
While following the above tips will reduce chances of construction accidents, workplace accidents can still happen. When they do happen, a workers comp lawyer in Montana can help get you the compensation you deserve. It is your employer’s responsibility to plan jobs for safe procedures, to provide appropriate and functioning equipment, and to provide proper training.