According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five workplace deaths is a construction worker. While construction work is often dangerous, there are things that can be done to make it a safer work environment. Workers must be aware of the on-the-job hazards and follow an effective health and safety program to keep themselves and their coworkers safer.
Some of the specific ways that construction sites can be safer, and accidents can be prevented include:
- Provide safety training for all employees. Employers should educate their workers on all workplace safety standards and the hazards they could present themselves on the job. Workers should also review the health and safety policies for every job that is required of them. Employees should never operate tools or equipment they are not trained on or qualified to use.
- Hold crew safety meetings frequently. If high-risk work is being performed, safety meetings are crucial for keeping workers safe. These meetings should be held frequently, as much as daily, and safety issues should be addressed.
- Use protective gear and equipment. All workers should wear appropriate safety equipment for their specific jobs. This includes hard hats, gloves, goggles, steel-toed boots, and/or protective suits.
- Keep the workplace free of clutter. Work areas that are free of debris and clutter are safer work environments. Employees should store tools at the end of their work shift, walkways should be free of clutter, and materials should be properly stacked out of the way to prevent slips, falls, trips, and crushing accidents.
- Maintain equipment and tools. Before any worker uses a piece of equipment or tools they should ensure that the item(s) are in safe working order. These tools and equipment should be part of a regular inspection and maintenance schedule.
- Prevent falls. Falls are the leading accident at construction sites. It is important that fall protection is installed including guardrails, toe boards, canopy structures, nets, and properly constructed scaffolding. These protections should also be inspected regularly.
- Recognize the possible hazards and make a plan. Before a job is started, the work area should be thoroughly inspected for any possible hazards that could present themselves and a risk assessment should be completed. Once the risk assessment is completed, a list of preventative measures should be made and implemented.
- Watch vehicle safety. Defensive driving, backing, and parking should be followed as fatal vehicle accidents are common on the construction site.
- Use equipment properly. If the equipment is used in a manner for which it is not intended, the manufacturers’ safety features may not work to prevent injury. It is also important that only equipment be used that meets OSHA’s standards.
- Follow OSHA guidelines and report dangerous conditions. Employers and fellow employees that cut corners put others at-risk. Any incidents that violate OSHA regulations should be reported.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to negligence on the job site or a defective product, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review your claim and determine if there were unsafe working conditions, potential OSHA violations, and other hazards that may have existed at the time of your accident. They will also determine who may be liable for your injuries and damages and what compensation you may be entitled to.
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