Every worksite should prioritize employees’ safety. However, many jobs, especially those in construction, require staff to work near hazardous chemicals, operate heavy machinery, or work on high platforms, creating potentially dangerous situations.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data shows that the number of fatalities in the private construction industry climbed by 5% in 2019, the greatest increase since 2007. Construction companies must follow OSHA guidelines for workplace safety, but preventable accidents still occur on occasion.
Our New York construction accident lawyers can advise you about filing for workers’ compensation benefits if you sustained injuries on a construction site.
Know the Dangers Facing Constructions Workers
To protect yourself and others in the workplace, make sure you understand the top five ways construction companies may be putting their workers at risk.
1. Unstable Surfaces and Ladders
Workers may fall because of unstable work surfaces, inadequate fall protection, human error, or the incorrect use of fall prevention devices. Although falls may occur under various circumstances, many are due to ladder use.
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry each year. Among New Yorkers ages 0-14 and 25+, falls are the top reason for hospitalizations. Falls can lead to catastrophic injuries such as sprains and fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and death.
Following OSHA regulations and frequent inspections can reduce the chances of ladder falls. Employers must train employees to recognize and report potential hazards in the workplace. Workers also need proper education on setting up and operating the equipment they will use on the job. However, if you’ve been injured from a fall that cost you your livelihood, you can file for a work injury lawsuit with an experienced construction accident attorney.
2. Unsecured Worksite Substances
The conditions around construction sites can be hazardous due to unsecured equipment, garbage, mud, and other substances. Different substances, including grease and oil, can cause a slip and fall.
OSHA describes a slip as a construction worker losing their balance due to a lack of traction between their feet and the ground in the work area. Workers trip when their feet or lower legs hit an object.
Slip and falls frequently occur on staircases, especially when foreign objects or materials are lying on the ground. It is possible to fall or trip if a stairway doesn’t have a handrail or when it is slippery due to weather conditions.
A slip and fall may cause injuries, including sprains, lacerations, or fractures. They can also cause more severe injuries to your knee, hip, or head. Training for construction workers is essential in preventing falls but doesn’t eliminate the risks. If you suffered a fall on the job due to unsafe conditions, consult with our New York slip and fall attorneys today.
3. Operation of Heavy Equipment
When construction workers operate heavy machinery for long periods, they are exposed to significant levels of vibration. Through the equipment’s frame and cab, vibration can travel through the body, causing injuries such as lower back pain and nerve irritation leading to musculoskeletal injuries to the arms, shoulders, and neck.
Improper operation of heavy machinery can also result in accidents injuring one or more workers in the vicinity.
4. Scaffolding-Related Flaws
Almost 2.3 million construction workers use scaffolds to work at heights of up to 100 feet. Scaffolds are essential on many construction sites, but there are many risks involved. A construction worker might be injured due to unsecured tools and supplies falling from a scaffold and striking them from above. A structural flaw or too much weight on platforms can also cause scaffolds to give away and cause workers standing on those scaffolds to fall.
For construction workers’ safety, OSHA has scaffolding standards that address what safety precautions are necessary. Proper training and adherence to workplace standards are essential for construction workers. This does not eliminate the risk of getting construction injuries.
5. Exposure to Harmful Chemicals and Materials
Using hazardous chemicals, dealing with electricity, and handling extremely hot materials can lead to burns. Electrical power lines carry extremely high voltages, which can cause electrocution and burns to workers in some situations.
Serious burns may cause debilitating and long-lasting injuries. The symptoms of severe construction burns can range from swelling and peeling to internal damage and involuntary muscle contractions. If you have severe burn injuries from a construction site accident, we recommend speaking with a catastrophic injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a New York State Construction Accident Attorney
New York construction workers provide essential services but are often exposed to numerous hazards. Workers can experience slips, trips, falls, and burns on the job site, along with other long-term health concerns such as postural effects from whole-body vibration.