A Costly Mistake: 4 Most Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents
It goes without saying that construction sites can be dangerous working environments, especially when you consider all the equipment and building materials that are on site and in use, which is why good safety procedures are needed at all times.If you have suffered an accident on a construction site it might need a personal injury lawyer to sort things out, as this service is aimed at getting a financial settlement that compensates the injured party, especially when the incident could potentially have been avoided.
Here is a look at the most common causes of accidents on construction sites and some pointers on why they happen and what could or should be done to minimize the risk and prospect of someone getting injured.
The fact that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a list of so-called “fatal four” main construction site causes of death and injury only serves to illustrate how dangerous an occupation it can be to earn a living as a construction worker.
Although there are inherent dangers in any industrial setting, construction sites are widely acknowledged as hazardous environments, especially when safety standards fall short of what is required to keep everyone safe.
Top of that list is falls, which account for almost 50% of construction accidents and deaths, according to OHSA statistics.
Falls, slips, and trips are a constant source of injuries and it is not that surprising to learn that falls to a lower level is widely reported amongst the construction accident injuries that get recorded for health and safety purposes.
It is essential that you are offered adequate fall protection when working at height and that includes the right protective gear and safety helmet, as well as the provision of harnesses as a backup when something goes wrong.
Another key safety measure is the need to keep walking areas and surfaces clear of debris and construction materials, as these could cause you to trip and fall.
Injured by an object
Almost 10% of reported accidents involve a worker being struck by an object.
Being struck by some sort of equipment or object is a major issue and a leading cause of construction accidents, with typical scenarios being when a co-worker has slipped and lost control of the equipment in their hand, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Falling objects are also a substantial threat and it is also common to hear that a worker has injured themselves with the piece of equipment they were holding in their hand, by losing control of the item.
Leaving equipment running when it is unattended or not paying attention to your surroundings before starting to use an item such as a drill or saw could easily endanger a colleague who is working in close proximity.
Good safety tips for preventing an accident like this include checking your immediate surroundings and being mindful of work that is going on directly above you and using tool lanyards to reduce the prospect of tools or materials falling when control is lost.
Loose-fitting clothing is not a good idea either, as that heightens the risk of getting tangled up in equipment that is running without adequate supervision.
The power to seriously injure or kill you
Another major source of construction site accidents is electrocution.
It is both qualified electricians and non-qualified construction workers who are equally at risk to a certain extent, with the only difference between the two categories being the type of electrocution threat they each face.
Qualified electricians are constantly exposed to “live” wires and if they fail to observe standard de-energizing or lockout procedures it significantly raises the prospect of a serious incident occurring.
Electricians suffer roughly twice as many electrocutions as their fellow construction workers who don’t have the same professional qualifications, which suggests that there is still some way to go in terms of enforcing correct safety standards in this area of work.
The major threat to construction workers with no professional electrical qualifications is a failure to avoid overhead power lines or recognize the inherent dangers because of a lack of basic electrical safety knowledge.
OSHA has guidelines in relation to the minimum required clearance distances from overhead lines and if you are working near lines that are carrying between 300-50,000 volts, for example, there has to be a minimum of ten feet clearance between the worker and the power line.
Contact with defective machinery and tools that they give you an electric shock is also a major issue, which is why regular checks of site equipment are always advisable.
Pushing yourself too hard
Another aspect of construction site injuries that can sometimes be overlooked is overexertion.
Pushing your physical capabilities to the limit or trying to lift or move something that requires more than one pair of hands creates the potential for a serious injury.
Lifting or lowering objects that were too heavy is regularly cited as a cause of accidents when injuries are being reported and it pays to know your limitations and follow safety guidelines if you want to avoid becoming one of those statistics.
It is hoped that the person or company responsible for ensuring the safety of every site worker will be proactive in enforcing safety regulations and making everyone aware of their limitations.
Wearing a back brace to lift heavy objects and taking regular breaks before attempting another heavy lifting job is just a couple of things that you need to consider as part of good safety practices.
Mistakes happen in every type of industry but many occupations are more forgiving in nature than in the construction sector, where a momentary lapse in concentration or lack of safety procedures can soon lead to a serious injury, or worse.
Proper safety training and rigorous enforcement of safety procedures should help to minimize the prospect of an accident happening and that is the route to preventing construction site accidents and injuries by keeping workers safe.
Any mistake can be costly, and that’s often when someone has to be held responsible for the consequences.