Some jobs are more dangerous than others, but just because a job is inherently dangerous does not mean that an employer will consider it worthwhile to take safety precautions to protect workers. In fact, taking the right safety measures is all the more important in these dangerous occupations, including the construction industry.
To help increase safety on construction sites in New York, workers should generally follow a two-step process of identifying hazards and taking action to mitigate the effects of those hazards. This includes wearing the right gear to promote construction safety.
Construction Site Hazards
To build a house, workers must be around ladders, open windows, scaffolding, uneven flooring, large holes, power tools, chemicals and concrete, to name a few. Each of these tools or activities can be a hazard, especially if used incorrectly.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified a “big four” of accidents that together cause over 50 percent of all deaths on construction site:
- being caught in or between something; and
- being struck by objects
These accidents can cause serious injuries, but there are ways to reduce the hazards on construction sites that cause fatal accidents.
In regard to the big four construction hazards, workers can take many steps to mitigate the danger these hazards present. Much of this involves using the right gear, but other tips can mitigate risk as well.
Below are some ways to reduce each of these dangers:
- Falls: Workers should wear a body harness with a lifeline while working on roofs. Scaffolding and ladders need to be properly constructed as well and made from structurally sound materials. Workers should tie off ladders whenever possible.
- Electrocutions: Do not use metal protective gear and keep metals away from live electricity on the job. Workers can also disconnect cords when not in use and only use grounded extension cords. If someone is working with live electricity, section off that work area so that only professionals can access the electricity.
- Caught in or between: Always be aware of machinery backing up or moving, and stay within the driver’s mirrors or sight and away from their blind spots. Stay out of the pathways of suspended loads and other moving objects as well.
- Struck by object: Do not stand directly below workers on scaffolding or stand in the pathway of a potential flying object when using a power tool. For workers on ladders or scaffolding, secure materials and tools when possible. Like with caught in/between, stay out of the pathway of suspended loads. Wear a safety helmet or hard hat at all times as a last resort for protection from falling objects.
What does the law say about construction site safety?
Workers injured on the job can file for workers’ compensation benefits, and in certain situations, can file personal injury lawsuit against a third party who contributed to or caused an accident and injuries. Workers can also confidentially report safety hazards to OSHA. An employer can never fire you or blackball you from employment for reporting a safety concern or filing for workers’ comp.
The attorneys at Markhoff & Mittman in New York are committed to ensuring workers are allowed to exercise their rights after injury on the job. Check out this blog post for even more construction safety tips or call 855-614-4351 if you were injured and need help fighting for your rightful workers’ compensation benefits.