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What Are OSHA’s Fatal Four Hazards in Construction?

what to do after construction site injury

Construction workers are essential for the success of a construction business. However, being a construction worker is not easy; you are forced to get used to risky working conditions where the sites are full of hazards, including heights and heavy machines. There are many safety precautions in place to protect workers from these dangerous conditions, but they still occur frequently. However, because this is a common occurrence and is considered a high-risk job, you may not need to take care of the medical bills and bear the financial burden of a construction accident on your own.

After a construction accident, your employer will typically offer workers’ compensation benefits, but you might also be allowed to prosecute a third party for a personal injury claim to obtain additional compensation that you deserve. Knowing your legal choices after being in a construction accident injury is crucial — submitting a workers’ compensation claim and pursuing a personal injury claim are two completely different procedures.

To assist you, this article will give you key information on what to do after a construction site accident, as well as the significant hazards in the construction industry.

Here at The Pagan Law Firm, we have a proven track record of success and over three decades of experience. Contact us today to speak with a seasoned construction accident attorney about your case. 

What is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?

Contractors within the construction sector must plan, be aware of all possible hazards, and take action to reduce risks before undertaking any work to prevent fatalities and keep workers safe. OSHA steps in to ensure the safety and security of the workers. By establishing and enforcing standards, as well as by offering outreach, education, and assistance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures safe and healthy working conditions for businesses and workers.

In order to do so, they have identified the Fatal Four hazards in construction as the primary cause of mortality from job injuries. With this knowledge, employers and construction workers will be better informed about the risks and will have a better idea of what to do if these hazards occur.

Additionally, OSHA covers most private enterprise employers and their employees including construction, marine, and agricultural industries, just to name a few. The agency also covers some employers in the public sector, typically through state OSHA organizations.

If you are looking for an experienced attorney after a construction accident, contact The Pagan Law Firm today.

OSHA’s Fatal Four Hazards in Construction

Since 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has coordinated with employers, health and safety experts, and other safety advocates to create safe and healthy workplaces across all sectors of the economy, notably in the hazard-prone construction industry. According to OSHA, there are four fatal hazards in construction that are the biggest causes of deaths and serious workplace accidents in the construction sector.

Here are the OSHA’s Fatal Four Hazards in Construction.

1. Falls

Falls continue to be one of the leading factors in work-related severe injuries in the construction industry. A fall is a common workplace accident at a construction site and can be caused by anything that makes you lose your balance or your body’s support. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three (36.4 percent) of all fatalities in the construction business are fall fatalities. On the job site, this construction accident seems to happen more frequently when there are exposed sides or holes. Inadequate usage or operation of ladders, rooftops, scaffolding, and large skyscraper buildings are also other common causes of falls.

How to Prevent a Fall-Related Construction Accident Injury

OSHA has formed a partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to create the Construction Sector on the Fall Prevention Campaign. This campaign centers around educating employees and workers on common hazards and steps that can help avoid falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds. 

Create a Plan in Advance To Do the Work Safely

Analyzing the work environment before beginning any project is one of the greatest methods to prevent fall dangers. Before any activity begins, examine the work location to identify any possible fall risks and to prepare personnel to utilize the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers must design projects to make sure that work is carried out safely when working from heights.

Consider how the project will be done, the activities that will be involved, and any safety equipment that might be required to execute each activity before you start. Employers should factor in safety gear when calculating the cost of a task and prepare to have the essential tools and materials on hand at the construction site.

Employer Must Provide the Necessary Tools and Equipment

Workers who are at least six feet above lower levels run the danger of suffering a significant injury or even death if they fall. Employers are required to provide fall protection for these workers as well as the appropriate tools for the task, such as the proper ladders, scaffolding, and high-quality safety equipment.

The various heights at which fall protection is necessary are as follows:

  • General fall prevention for six-foot jobs
  • Scaffolds for 10-foot-tall jobs
  • Steel erection for projects between 15 and 30 feet
  • Guardrail Systems
  • Covers
  • Personal Fall Arrest (PFA) systems

Employers must also provide workers with high-quality harnesses that have tie-off anchors for roof or height work, and the workers should then utilize the appropriate tools and equipment to do tasks safely. If employees are using personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), the equipment should fit properly. In addition to this, employers should have a system in place to check equipment frequently to ensure safe use.

Everyone Working on the Project Should Get Training on How To Utilize the Equipment Properly

Employers are required to provide all workers with safety awareness training. Everyone involved in the project has to be aware of their responsibilities and receive the necessary instruction on their tools and equipment, so the training should cover how to set up and operate the tools they will be using properly. Even though construction workers must be familiar with safety equipment and construction tools to do their jobs, they should receive additional training and refreshers on the latest tools, equipment, and safety procedures to ensure that accidents related to falls are reduced and avoided.

Were you injured from a fall accident on a construction site? Reach out to one of our experienced attorneys at The Pagan Law Firm today by filling out our online form or calling 212-967-8202.

2. Electrocution

According to the latest CPWR Data Bulletin, electrocutions account for over half (47.6 percent) of all construction site injuries in the United States. Additionally, electrocutions were one of the industry’s main causes of occupational deaths. 

Electrocution in the workplace is a common concern for construction workers. Overhead power lines, frayed cables, faulty tools, a lack of protection, faulty wiring, and poor extension cord use are all potential sources of electrocution. Serious burns, muscle and nerve damage, blindness, and other injuries are all possible consequences of electrocution. Because of the well-known risks involved, OSHA has presented strategies for avoiding unwarranted risks of harm.

How to Prevent an Electrocution-Related Construction Accident Injury

Electrocutions continually rank as a major factor in fatal accidents in the construction sector. Since construction workers are on the front lines and actively engaged in dangerous activities, they are at a higher risk of serious injuries. However, there are strategies to avoid these accidents — general contractors should train their employees properly and employees should always utilize best practices.

Utilize Insulated Cables

Construction sites drastically lower their electrical risks by utilizing the proper wires. Construction companies should make sure they use lines with robust, durable insulation when installing or moving equipment. Electrocution is possible if there is insufficient insulation on the cable. In addition, contact with electrical sources, such as malfunctioning machinery, exposed wires, or power lines, can all result in electrocution. 

Workers Should Use PPE Rated for the Appropriate Voltage

Shock-resistant PPE should be worn by every employee who works with or close to wires. That includes safety glasses, warm clothes, and rubber gloves. Keep in mind that this PPE is rated for a certain voltage, so personnel should have the appropriate level of gear for their tasks. Before starting work, employees should assess their PPE in the same way that they check for electrical risks. Their safety may be compromised by any rips or areas where the insulation has worn thin.

Create a Ground-fault Protection System

Ground-fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are one of the best protection systems in construction sites; they are used to protect outlets that are not a part of the structure’s structural wiring. When a GFCI senses an abnormality in the passage of electrical charge from hot to neutral, it trips the circuit and turns off the power in less than a second, preventing electric shocks or electrocutions.

Additionally, employers in the construction industry need to set up an equipment grounding procedure that includes all cables, temporary receptacles, and equipment and keep thorough records of all testing and assessments. By physically checking for cuts, frayed wires, or unprotected bare wires, they can make sure that all gear and extension cables are in excellent shape.

Employees Should Receive Electrical Safety Training

No matter what other measures a company takes, comprehensive training is invaluable. Despite having a broad understanding of safety, construction workers may require further preparation while working with electricity. Even with robust safety precautions in place, mistakes can happen and result in injuries or death. It is crucial to educate all employees on electrical risks and how to recognize and avoid them. Anyone who often uses high-voltage equipment may require regular retraining sessions as well. These training courses will assist in preventing potentially harmful mistakes, ensuring the maximum level of worker safety, especially when procedures and equipment are being updated to the latest technology.

Electrocutions on a construction site are one of the most common injuries for construction workers. If you or a family member has been injured, contact The Pagan Law Firm today for expert legal representation. 

3. Caught in or Between Construction Equipment

Another serious construction site threat is caught-in hazards. When employees are focused on work, they can get in the way of machinery by accident. 

According to OSHA, employees are killed in “caught-in” incidents every year. Approximately 16 percent of deaths in construction are from caught-in accidents. This number has mostly remained constant over time — safety and awareness training remains essential to reduce these common accidents.

Working with heavy machinery frequently results in caught-in danger. Workers are at risk of becoming trapped inside, between, or under various objects. Caught-in/between construction equipment accidents occur when workers are pinned or stuck between machinery or permanent structures, as well as trench and excavation cave-ins. These accidents occur unexpectedly and without notice. When working near or within excavation sites, inadequate safety precautions are responsible for the bulk of these injuries and deaths.

How to Prevent a Caught-in/Between Construction Equipment Accident

It might be challenging to anticipate possible caught-in- or caught-between risks, but they can be prevented through employee awareness.

Dedicate Yourself To Adhering to All Safety Procedures on the Construction Site

To avoid occurrences involving being trapped in and stuck between objects, every person on the construction site must be devoted to safety and protection. Everyone must come together to work as a team and adhere to all safety guidelines.

There are steps that employers can take to make job sites safer. OSHA requires employers to safeguard their employees from any potential dangers. It is necessary for employers to:

  • Meet all heavy machinery, vehicle, and general OSHA construction standards requirements.
  • Provide the necessary PPE, such as wearing highly visible clothing, for employees who work close to machinery or vehicles.
  • Provide necessary equipment and vehicle training.
  • Make sure operators, riggers, signal people, and competent people are qualified.

Daily Equipment Safety Inspection

The best safety procedure is to regularly check equipment for safety problems. Inspections include making sure that all moving components are in excellent working order, that the machine doesn’t have any exposed sharp edges or missing or loose bolts, and that any safety features, such as guards, are placed appropriately.

Once the equipment is in operation, employees should check it frequently with a comprehensive inspection of all of its parts at least every six months after the original installation. Additionally, an inspection should be done after a component has undergone repair, and more frequently if required due to wear and tear or exposure to extreme environmental conditions.

Regularly Hold Safety Training Sessions and Meetings To Provide Updates on Safety Concerns

Training and frequent meetings are important ways to raise worker safety awareness. During these sessions, workers learn about the risks involved with their jobs as well as the precautions they may take to avoid mishaps. This kind of gathering supports your company’s safety training program and, together with formal written rules, aid in spreading awareness of possible workplace dangers and the OSHA standards intended to protect workers.

To speak with an experienced construction accident attorney after your accident, call The Pagan Law Firm at 212-967-8202 today.

4. Struck-By

Struck-by injuries happen when an item or piece of machinery hits or collides with an individual. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 42,400 struck-by-falling objects incidents occur each year. The most common causes of workplace accidents include heavy machinery and equipment, such as trucks and cranes, falling or flying items, such as tools and flying debris, or walls made of concrete or masonry that are being built. While these risks do exist, there are measures to avoid or lessen injuries caused by these risks.

How to Prevent Struck-by Objects Accidents

Keeping employees safe from flying items is challenging since they might not be performing the job of moving the objects themselves. However, employers should make sure that control mechanisms are put in place to protect their employees’ safety.

Utilize Appropriate PPE

Workers should use the appropriate eye protection, such as goggles, safety glasses, or face shields when utilizing tools that might produce flying particles or dust. Many struck-by accidents result in eye injuries because of chemicals or other particles. If such risks exist at your place of business, make it mandatory for employees to wear safety glasses. 

Workers and guests alike should wear hard hats if there is work being done above them. Regularly check hard hats for dents, cracks, or wear and tear. Hard hats that are beginning to exhibit indications of wear and tear will not adequately protect the user and should be discarded.

Regularly Inspect Tools and Equipment

Check all tools and equipment frequently to ensure they’re safe and in good operating order. Inspect them for flaws and remove them from operation if any are discovered. Examine safety barriers and equipment to make sure they will protect employees from moving parts and are in excellent working order.

Only Trained Personnel Should Access Work Areas 

Workers who haven’t had enough training in workplace safety procedures are more likely to suffer accidents. A workspace should ideally only be accessible to individuals who are required for the project and who have received safety-related training.

Are you looking for a law firm that has a proven track record of success? Contact The Pagan Law Firm today! We have over three decades of experience fighting for construction accident victims. Call 212-967-8202 now or fill out our online contact form.  

What to do if You Have Been Injured at a Construction Site!

It is essential for injured construction workers to know what to do to protect their health and future finances after an accident. Follow the steps below to receive the best possible compensation for your claim.

Seek Medical Care

After a construction site injury, your physical health comes first. Even if you received medical attention immediately after the occurrence and were then discharged from their care, there may still be concealed harm. Make an appointment to get checked for any internal injuries as soon as possible. Even though you may appear to be in good health, you never know what concealed ailments you may have suffered.

Notify Your Employer of the Accident

Most businesses let injured workers submit an accident report outlining the specifics of the occurrence. This is an essential stage that enables you to describe the specifics of the injury, what led up to the accident, and any witnesses. Make certain to file a report as soon as possible after the injury so you have as much time to recall the specifics as feasible.

Talk to an Experienced Construction Injury Lawyer

Contacting a professional attorney is one of the most crucial actions you can take to protect your rights following a construction accident. The lawyers at The Pagan Law Firm have a great deal of knowledge assisting injured employees with construction accident claims, and we can assist you in determining if the negligence of another person or your company was to blame for your injuries.

A construction site injury lawyer can assist you in taking the necessary action to obtain just compensation:

  • A personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third party.
  • A claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact Us Today!

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