Do you work in the construction industry? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, four of the safety hazards in this industry stand out as the most frequent causes of work-related injuries and subsequent workers’ compensation claims. The agency reported that in 2016 almost 64% of fatal construction worker accidents in Louisiana and across the country involved one of the fatal four.
OSHA says eliminating these risks could save more than 600 lives each year. Unfortunately, many construction company owners prioritize profits over employee safety. If that is the case, learning about the fatal four could help you return home safely at the end of each shift.
Based on the 2016 data, falls caused 38.7% of fatal construction accidents. The other three are significantly lower, with struck-by accidents at 9.4%, electrocution fatalities at 8.3%, and caught-in or between accidents making up 7.3%.
The following precautionary steps could prevent falls from heights:
- Always test ladders and scaffolds for security.
- Never work at heights without a fall-protection harness.
- Make sure all floor openings are covered.
- Make sure multi-level structures have guardrails on elevated levels.
The list of struck-by hazards on construction sites is endless, including objects falling, flying, rolling and swinging:
- Never work on any site without a hard hat to prevent head trauma.
- Always wear safety goggles, steel-tipped work boots and ear protection.
- Wearing a reflective vest can make you more visible to operators of heavy equipment.
Caught-in and between objects
Never position yourself near moving equipment to prevent being crushed, and make sure the machines or equipment you use has the necessary safeguards. However, this hazard frequently involves trench work without one of the following protective systems:
- Shoring can support unstable or weak trench walls.
- Sloping involves trench walls with gradual inclines.
- Benching is the process of sloping but implementing steps on the incline.
Electricity hazards are less obvious and often overlooked. It is a good idea to locate electrical utilities before work commences. Other risks include the following:
- Working with scaffolds, booms or aerial lifts near overhead power lines.
- Make sure ground-fault circuit interrupters to disrupt electrical currents are installed.
Most importantly, your employer must include safety training and precautions when planning the project. If you fall victim to a work-related accident in Louisiana, you will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You should report the incident to your employers as soon as possible to ensure your claim’s filing within the allowed period.