136 fatal injuries occurred in the construction industry in Texas in 2019, recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals. In fact, OSHA recently issued two serious citations and a $12,675 penalty against roadside construction company, RoadSafe Traffic Systems Inc., for safety failures in the accidental death of an employee near Devers, Texas.
Construction companies and workers are both responsible for ensuring a safe work environment and avoiding common workplace hazards, yet if an accident arises from negligence, injured individuals can pursue compensation for damages.
Common construction site hazards
Falls are one of the biggest hazards construction workers face. They typically occur due to unstable work surfaces, ladders and stairways, human error, and misuse of or failure to use protection equipment. Scaffolding hazards also happen when scaffolding is erected or used incorrectly. In fact, around 4,500 injuries and over 60 fatalities could be avoided every year with the correct protective scaffolding measures. Forklift hazards are another serious issue; 95,000 forklift operators are injured and around 100 killed every year. Regular inspection and correct use of cranes is also important to avoid common hazards. Crane accidents typically result in workers getting trapped in the crane’s swing radius or being seriously hit by an overhead load.
Fortunately, safety hazards can be prevented with the correct selection and use of equipment and tools. For example, the correct ladder should be used for each job (metal ladders should never be used for electrical work or near overhead power lines). Additionally, scaffolds need to be robust enough to carry at least four times the maximum intended load without moving. They must also be erected on solid ground. Never exceed load capacities of scaffolding, cranes, ladders, and stairways. Equipment and tools should also be inspected regularly with necessary repairs made promptly. Malfunctioning equipment should be clearly labeled or removed, while slippery stairway conditions should also be promptly addressed. If a construction worker becomes injured on the job, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should also report your injury to the construction site manager, who’ll create a report documenting your injury. A construction job accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for damages. Since the construction industry has numerous different regulations and potential parties involved, an experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights and inform you of your options
The importance of PPE
Construction workers must always wear proper protective gear (PPE) while working. In particular, slip-resistant shoes or boots with puncture-resistant soles and safety toes are key. Correct eye and face protection should also be worn depending on the potential hazards involved in the job. Safety glasses or face shields provide protection from foreign objects hitting or entering the eyes. Similarly, the correct gloves should be worn to suit each job, and also need to fit comfortably.
Construction is undoubtedly one of the most hazardous industries. By taking care to avoid common workplace risks, construction workers can stay safe and injury-free on the job.