|There is no doubt that construction sites are very busy places. They can also be very dangerous places. All construction sites must comply with OSHA regulations intended to minimize the risks and it is true that the number of accidents on construction sites is diminishing. Unfortunately though regulations are not always followed, or not tightly enough and all kinds of accidents occur every day. Let us take a look at some of the more common injury risks involved with construction sites. Falls Falls from heights make up 1/3 of fatalities on
construction sites. Incorrectly erected scaffolding, open sides and floor holes, unsecured ladders and unguarded steel bars (resulting in impaling) are all common risks. By law scaffold erection must be overseen and checked by a ‘competent' person. It is amazing how often this is not done though.
Falling Objects All manner of tools and heavy equipment can come falling from above and a hard hat is not always enough protection. If a construction area has not been correctly fenced off, or something falls from a crane that reaches beyond the scope of the site passers-by can also be hit by falling objects.
Excavation and Trenching Accidents Cave-ins can and do occur. If material is mounded up too close to the edge it can also fall back in causing serious injury. The risk of death to construction workers in trenching and excavation sites is considered to be 112% higher than in any other area. Electrocution Exposed high voltage overhead or underground power lines can easily result in death. Faulty power tools or leads are also responsible for electrocution injuries as are exposed wires that have been left live. Chemical injuries Construction sites are often full of dangerous chemicals. Over exposure to some
of these can lead to injury as can inhalation and sometimes explosions or fires. Exertion injuries Back injuries from heavy and incorrect lifting are among the most frequent.
All manner of RSI injuries from repetitive work are also common. Heavy Equipment Many injuries can be caused by heavy equipment in all manner of ways. Machinery may be faulty or topple over. Carelessness with cranes results in many injuries. Forklifts and skid steers are other common accident causers. Fire and Explosions While less common there is always the risk of fires and explosions, mainly from faulty equipment or chemicals.
Injuries can range from bumps and bruises, broken bones, back injury, spinal cord injury, cuts, amputations, burns, poisoning and death.
Minor accidents usually heal up quickly. More severe injuries may mean days, weeks, months or more off work, with mounting medical bills. Some workers may never be able to return to the same job again. Workers compensation may be a help but very often a good personal injury lawyer can work aggressively to get the full level of compensation a worker deserves. Negligence may well be found to be the fault of employers, property owners, machinery manufacturers, or other
third parties. It is critical that anyone injured on a construction site seeks medical help immediately. They should then seek legal advice to see if they may have a case. This article is not legal advice.