Common Construction Workplace Hazards

Posted in Personal Injury on October 16, 2020

While every industry has its risks, none is quite as deadly as construction. More worker fatalities occur in construction than any other private industry, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA statistics from 2018 state that more than one-fifth (21.2%) of the 1,008 worker deaths were in construction. Recognizing the most common workplace hazards in construction could allow you to improve your own safety on the job in Torrance.

Falls

OSHA accident statistics for the construction industry show that falls were the leading cause of death besides transportation accidents. In 2018, falls took 338 workers’ lives – 33.5% of the total number of deaths in construction. Lack of fall protection in construction was the number one most frequently cited safety standard by OSHA from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019. Many employers fail to provide proper personal fall protection as a way of saving time or money. These employers endanger the lives of their employees.

Another commonly cited standard in 2018 was a failure to meet the general scaffolding construction requirements. This means most deadly scaffold accidents are preventable with due care by builders, workers and employers. Falls from scaffold collapses can cause serious to deadly worker injuries. Common fall injuries include broken bones, spinal cord fractures, permanent disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. Maintaining safer premises and teaching workers how to properly construct scaffolds could help prevent these accidents. 

Struck-By Object 

Another common workplace hazard in construction is the risk of falling objects. Workers dropping objects from platforms, scaffolds and buildings can strike people working below and cause serious head and brain injuries. Although construction site standards mandate that all workers wear helmets, helmets do not always prevent traumatic brain injuries in struck-by object accidents. In 2018, 112 construction workers lost their lives due to falling or flying objects. Common examples are tools and building materials falling from scaffolds, cranes collapsing and striking workers, and explosions sending shrapnel through the air. 

Electrical Hazards 

Construction requires workers to work with or near electrical components. A crane operator, for example, may have to work around power lines. It is critical for employers in construction to properly train their workers to look out for power lines and other electrical hazards, as well as equip them with related safety gear. Otherwise, workers can sustain serious injuries, including electric shocks, electric burns and electrocutions. Electrocution accounted for 8.5% of all construction worker deaths in 2018. 

Equipment and Transportation Accidents 

Accidents while in transit can lead to fatal construction worker injuries. Transportation accidents such as vehicle-to-vehicle collisions or vehicle-worker collisions can occur when someone is negligent. Other equipment accidents, such as a worker getting pulled into a machine that is missing a safety guard, are also a substantial risk. Fatal injuries when caught-in or between objects or equipment at work accounted for 55 construction worker deaths in 2018. 

How to Prevent Construction Workplace Accidents 

You may be able to avoid a serious injury while working at a construction site in Torrance by paying attention to these common causes of injuries and deaths, as well as using general safety tips. 

  • Always obey your workplace’s rules. Do not cut corners to save time. 
  • Use fall protection if you are working at a height of six feet or higher.
  • Check all scaffolds for adherence to federal safety regulations. 
  • If you notice any damaged scaffolds or other equipment, report it to your supervisor. 
  • Wear eye, face and head protection, when necessary. 
  • Do not operate any tools or equipment unless you have received the proper training. 
  • Stay out of the radius of cranes, heavy machinery and power lines.

If a workplace accident in construction does give you an injury, contact a Torrance construction site accident attorney to help you protect your rights. Your employer or someone else may owe you compensation.

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