Friedman, Schuman, Applebaum and Nemeroff, P.C.Attorneys at Law • A Professional Corporation
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How to avoid construction site accidents

The national average of construction-related deaths is higher than in any other work sector in the U.S. When employers cut safety corners or fail to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines and rules, construction work becomes even more dangerous. OSHA citations usually involve hazards relating to ladders, scaffolding, excavation and trenching, lack of head and fall protection, electrical wiring, communication and general safety provisions.

Recognize construction site hazards to avoid accidents

  • Ladders should be the proper length and load, clean, regularly inspected and clearly marked "Do Not Use" if insufficient or unsafe.
  • Scaffolding must have the proper toeboards, midrails and guardrails, and should only be moved under proper supervision. Scaffolding should be at least ten feet away from any electrical hazards and wiring and should be inspected regularly. Rigging must be inspected before every shift.
  • Trenches must be protected at all times with an exit route immediately available. Trenches that are more than 20 feet must have a protective system that has been designed by a professional engineer. Trenches must also be inspected before entry and after any potentially hazardous occurrence such as excessive surcharge load, rainstorm, or vibrations.
  • Head protection must be worn when there is any potential danger from above including electrical wiring, and gear must be inspected for cracks, dents and deterioration. Employers are required to replace head protection after a hard hit or electrical shock.
  • Line control systems or guardrails with toeboards and warning lines must be installed near roof and floor edges. Employers must provide safety nets and must properly cover floor holes.
  • Construction workers should understand basic electrical safety measures, such as proper lockout tags, avoiding and replacing hot wires, using grounding prongs on extension cords, identifying power lines, etc.
  • Employers are responsible for providing proper working equipment and replacing tools that are unsafe or deteriorated. Employers are not allowed to bypass safety systems out of neglect or to save costs.
  • It is also incumbent upon employers to properly communicate any and all hazards to employees related to the construction work, environment, and equipment including chemicals. Training, inspections, cleanliness, and protective gear must also be supplied by the employer.

Employers are responsible for construction site safety

Construction workers are required to follow safety precautions, but employers are required to create a safe work environment. For example, when Southern Pan, a Jacksonville, Florida, construction company tried to save money by cutting corners in 2007, a six-story parking facility crashed during construction, killing one worker and injuring 20 more. If you have suffered personal injury due to unsafe work environments, you should seek counsel immediately.

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