What Factors Make an Unsafe Construction Workplace?
Construction sites are busy places, teeming with bustling activity, large and small heavy equipment, and active, industrious, rushed people. As a consequence, they are also laden with myriad hazards and safety concerns. Heavy equipment, human error, and materials in motion can all contribute to dangerous conditions for those unlucky enough to be affected by construction site accidents. These accidents directly result in thousands of injuries and deaths per year. Knowing the most common causes of construction site accidents and the necessary measures to avoid them is critical to construction workplace safety.
Several factors contribute to a safe vs. an unsafe construction workplace.
Some of the causes that influence these risks include:
- Machinery Malfunction
- Human Error/Negligence
- Moving Equipment/Materials
- Ground Collapse
- Vehicular Accidents
- Water/Gas/Electrical Issues
- Improper Use/Handling of Equipment & Materials
- Excessive Noise
- Hazardous Materials (Asbestos, Air-Borne Fibers, Materials)
Construction site falls are the most common type of injury, involving nearly one-third of all construction injuries and accidents annually. The seriousness of these falls depends on circumstances such as height, ground conditions, surrounding equipment (ladders, building materials, scaffolding, etc.), and landing. While in some cases there may be safety equipment or netting employed, more often than not, this is not the case.
Moving objects are a constant on a construction site, and as a result, workers are often severely hurt by swinging heavy equipment, materials being placed or located, vehicles in motion, or simple, unfortunate wrong-place/wrong-time locations. Crushing injuries also account for these types of striking damages, whether by vehicles or other means.
Adding Construction Site Hazards
As utilities are integrated into building sites, water, gas, & electricity each become of critical concern. Confusion or misattribution of these lines can contribute to catastrophic injury, therefore every precaution must be taken to signal those onsite workers to use the utmost in care around them. Proper signage and signaling, as well as apt and complete training, are critical keys to safety.
Motorized machinery can have rapid and serious consequences when poorly managed or maintained. The importance of vigilance and maintenance cannot be overstated when operating heavy equipment. Loose clothing, insufficient safety equipment, and operator error can all contribute to injury and/or death when caught in machinery or equipment.
Disturbance of the soil when beginning excavation for a structure can be extensive and may contribute to unexpected ground collapse. Factors like the type of soil, hardness and/or consistency of the earth, weather conditions, and moisture of the surrounding area can all have a significant impact on the stability of a construction worksite. Underground areas can be just as unpredictable, with voids and water creating unexpected issues. Foundational integrity when renovating can be questionable, and collapse can happen at any time when foundational work is being performed. Such collapses can rapidly carry people and equipment in the affected area, resulting in injuries, entrapment, or even death.
Orderly Construction Sites
Construction sites can easily become chaotic and disorganized. Heavy rains, liquid spills, leaking water, or certain construction materials can make the ground slippery and unstable. Likewise, inattention and/or hurriedness can create perilous circumstances, resulting in injury and loss. As a result, certain areas may easily present slipping, tripping, or falling hazards to construction workers. Unfortunately, many of these missteps result in injury.
Construction site accident injuries can result in:
- Head & Brain Injuries
- Eye Injury & Vision Damage
- Neck, Back, & Spinal Cord Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Severe Contusions
- Chemical/Electrical Exposure or Illness
Each year, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes its statistics for data pertaining to myriad workplace conditions. According to their reports, accidents with injuries affect one in ten construction site workers every year. Of these, OSHA further states that the leading cause of these injuries is from falls that occur at construction sites. This estimate is further supported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to BLS, approximately 150,000 construction site injuries occur each year, with falls accounting for the greatest number of these accidents. Crushing/contact injuries ranked among the highest causes as well. As a result, at least 15% of Worker’s Compensations claims and expenses are directly the result of construction site injury claims.
Construction worksite accidents most commonly result from a lack of training, a lack of supervision or an inability to carry out a task safely, or due to a failure to pay attention to detail and carelessness. Unhealthy and unsafe practices, Safety is vitally important at any construction site. It directly correlates to efficiency, quality, and productivity. Construction site accidents and injuries can have long-term and sometimes permanent consequences, placing you and your family in financial hardship. At Daniella Levi & Associates, we are uniquely qualified to assist you with your construction accident injury claim. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured as a result of a construction site accident, contact our experienced construction site injury law team today.