Construction workers are exposed to hazards every day, but would it surprise you to know that some of the injuries and deaths that have happened were from simple falls or equipment collapsing? These are things that safety manuals talk about, but safety isn’t always enforced.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are several types of hazards that injure workers in Ohio and around the United States. For instance, around 2.3 million construction workers use scaffolding regularly. That same scaffolding leads to an estimated 4,500 injuries and 50 fatalities each year.
There is a solution to the risk, though; safety through education and maintenance. OSHA claims that scaffolding is supposed to be inspected upon each shift change. This must be done by a “competent person,” which is usually someone who understands or has been trained in how to set up and tear down the equipment.
Another hazard, falls, cause the highest number of fatalities in the entire construction industry. These deaths and related injuries are typically caused by workers who are on unstable surfaces, human error or the failure to use fall-protection equipment. OSHA offers a few solutions: Cover holes in the flooring, use safety nets or harness systems, and make sure guardrails are installed.
Another potential danger on the job is trenching. OSHA states that there are hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths related to poor trench safety each year. To keep workers safer, trenches should only be made with allowable slopes. Workers should use protective systems like shoring to support the trench walls. Additionally, there should always be a way for workers to exit the trench, like with a ladder, ramp or stairway. This should be no more than 25 feet away from employees in the trenches.
OSHA, “Worker Safety Series: Construction,” Jul. 17, 2014