The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is part of the United States Department of Labor, and it is in charge of making sure that workers have safe and healthful working conditions. They do their work by settling and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. (OSHA, 2021)
The OSH Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. (OSHA, 2021)
OSHA defines four big hazards that are regularly seen in the construction area and provides methods for the recognition and prevention of these common hazards, which are the following:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of construction worker fatal injuries, accounting for one-third of all on-the-job deaths in the industry.
Construction falls can lead to very serious injuries or even death, but by complying with OSHA rules and statutes, most of them could have been prevented.
Many falls occur because the companies didn’t take the time to plan the job ahead, they didn’t have the required equipment or bought poor quality materials, or they didn’t provide the appropriate training to their workers. On any of these cases, the company or the building could have prevented the fall accident and therefore is at fault for it.
When scaffolds, conductive tools, or other materials contact overhead power lines (see Figure 1), workers receive serious and often fatal injuries. Data from the NIOSH National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) database indicate that nearly 6,500 traumatic work-related deaths occur each year in the United States; an estimated 7% of these fatalities are electrocutions. (CDC)
When the injury is created more as a result of crushing injuries between objects, the accident is catalogued as a caught-in.
According to OHSA, events that should be classified as Caught include: cave-ins (trenching), being pulled into or caught in machinery and equipment (this includes strangulation as the result of clothing caught in running machinery and equipment), being compressed or crushed between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects such as semi-trailers and a dock wall, or between a truck frame and a hydraulic bed that is lowering.
Approximately 26% of deaths that occur in construction are from struck-by accidents, and generally they occur any time that a worker could be struck or hit by an object. (OSHA, 2021)
This type of hazard is subdivided into the following categories:
- Struck-by falling objects: They normally occur when people are working or walking below elevated work surfaces, and they are therefore exposed to falling objects.
- Struck-by flying objects: Many of the activities carried in construction sites, such as grinding or striking materials, or the use of pressurized air can create hazardous flying objects.
- Struck-by swinging/slipping objects: Working without following statutes under loads as they are being lifted exposes workers to accidents.
- Struck-by objects on ground level: There are materials, tools, and machinery constantly being transported from one spot to another, this can cause all sorts of accidents and injuries.
Most of these construction accidents could be avoided if OSHA rules, statutes, and suggestions were being followed by both companies and workers.
However, accidents happen, and if you or anyone you know suffered a construction accident, you should contact an accidents attorney right away, so they can help you get the worker’s compensation you deserve for your injuries.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.