In part one of this two-part series, the OSHA defense attorneys at Cotney Construction Law discussed traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of head injury that can lead to brain damage and is prevalent in the construction industry. Construction workers have the highest risk of TBI. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), TBIs accounted for roughly 25 percent of construction fatalities between 2003 and 2010. Therefore, taking proactive measures to prevent TBI is vital if contractors want to avoid workers’ compensation claims and visits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
There are many ways for construction professionals to protect themselves against TBI, but it requires a concentrated and equal effort from both construction workers and contractors. Some common sense preventative measures include:
- Enforcing personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols consistently
- Ensuring that workers are ALWAYS wearing their hard hats when on the project site
- Wearing seat belts when driving or operating heavy machinery
- Addressing fall hazards and implementing anti-fall controls
- Requiring all workers with limited sight to have updated prescription eyewear as needed to perform work-related tasks
- Erecting signs that identify potential hazards
- Reviewing safety guidelines with workers on an on-going basis
High Risk for Workers and Contractors
Every contractor knows that accidents and injuries take a twofold toll on the project being worked on. This is because an injured worker not only causes a team to “play one man down” but also requires the contractor to cover their workers’ compensation claim. This can greatly reduce your bottom line, since you’ll be not only responsible for handling the claim but also hard-pressed to complete your project on time. This issue compounds as additional injuries mount, so the importance of prevention cannot be overstated.
Understanding the risk factors commonly linked with TBI can help you develop a plan. Working at heights is linked with many TBIs, so your workers should always be advised to be extra careful when working on roofs, ladders, or scaffolds.
On average, the number of TBIs each year in the construction industry is decreasing, but that doesn’t relieve contractors of their responsibility to their employees. If you want to sustain a strong and healthy workforce, have your projects proceed without impediments, boost profits, and grow your business, preventing TBIs is essential. OSHA recognizes the danger of these injuries and is working persistently to penalize contractors that fail to provide their workers with a safe project site. If you need assistance with OSHA defense or citation prevention, consult our OSHA defense attorneys.
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.