Safety is always a primary concern for construction workers. In the first and second parts of this article, we discussed a few ways that contractors can ensure that their workplace remains safe. In this section, an OSHA attorney will discuss more common physical hazards located at the jobsite. Remember, for legal defense against OSHA, consult a construction attorney.
Some of the most common ways that workers experience ground-level injuries at the jobsite include:
Slip and Falls: These incidents are among the most frequently cited OSHA violations. They often occur because workers lose their balance on uneven surfaces, impediments, cables, slippery surfaces, or due to inclement weather. Contractors should always be mindful of clearing out working areas and creating entry and exit points to reduce confined spaces at the jobsite. Hazards should be well lit and clearly marked, and any debris or other obstacles should be removed from the work area promptly.
Moving Objects: The jobsite is constantly changing. When things don’t go according to plan, workers can get struck-by or caught-in between equipment, vehicles, or other materials. Walking into injuries or objects falling and striking a worker are also common incidents that lead to an OSHA citation. There needs to be a system in place with dedicated spotters to ensure everyone working in a confined space is aware of moving objects.
Unstable Trenches: Trenches pose several risks to workers within the enclosed space including the chances of the trench collapsing. Along with ensuring that the trench is properly supported, contractors need to closely monitor the trench as work progresses on a project.
Shock Hazards: Construction sites are surrounded by highly advanced equipment and machinery. There’s also a plethora of overhead and underground electric power cables located on the jobsite that can lead to electrocutions, which are among OSHA’s “Fatal Four” causes of death in the construction industry. From vulnerable extension cords on the ground to heavy machinery running over cables, contractors need to assess their jobsite and make certain that a system is in place for monitoring and inspecting cables. Lastly, only qualified electricians should be performing tasks related to electrical work.
Dangerous Machinery: Heavy machinery and work vehicles pose many risks to a workplace including:
- Onsite vehicular accidents (workers backed over)
- Equipment is not properly shutdown
- Defective equipment isn’t fixed or removed from the jobsite
- Machine entanglement accidents
In order to avoid any of these types of mishaps from occurring, contractors need to pay close attention to detail. This includes following lockout/tagout procedures for shutting down equipment and having spotters onsite monitoring the traffic flow of equipment and vehicles.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.