There is no doubt that those who work in the construction industry face significant risks each day. These workers operate around heavy equipment and in hazardous conditions. However, both state and federal authorities place significant regulations on this industry in order to keep workers safe. Unfortunately, there are still times when injuries occur. Often, these injuries are completely preventable. Here, our Chicago construction accident lawyers want to discuss the five common causes of construction site accident injuries.
How Do These Construction Injuries Occur?
Approximately 20% of all workplace fatalities in the United States during the latest reporting year occurred in the construction industry. For a single industry to account for one out of every five worker deaths is astounding. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some of the most common causes of construction site accident injuries and deaths include the following:
1. Falls from heights
Many construction workers operate from varying heights, often multiple stories off the ground. There are stringent regulations about the types of safety equipment and harnesses that workers must use when they are operating anywhere other than ground level. Unfortunately, if the regulations are not followed, if workers are not trained, or if the equipment is faulty, severe injuries can occur.
2. Trench collapse
Trenches are a common site around construction zones. These trenches are created to allow workers to install various pipes or wires, or even to prepare the area for below-ground structures. There are specific regulations about creating stable trenches for workers to operate in. Unfortunately, there are times when trenches collapse and bury workers underneath.
3. Scaffolding collapse
Scaffolding is very common around construction sites and allows workers to operate on the inside and outside of buildings at various heights. Constructing scaffolding must be done with the same precision and care as any other construction on the site. When scaffolding is not properly constructed, it can collapse and cause a mass disaster injuring multiple workers.
4. Electric shock
Electricity is always going to be present at a construction site. From the beginning phases of a job, electricity is needed to power the equipment. Additionally, electricians will begin wiring new buildings at various stages of construction. Anytime there is an exposed electrical wire or untrained personnel, electric shocks can occur.
5. Repetitive motion injuries
Construction workers regularly perform the same motions over and over again all day. When this repetitive motion occurs for months or years at a time, workers can sustain repetitive motion injuries. A repetitive motion injury can be incredibly painful and debilitating for a worker, sometimes to the point where they are no longer able to perform the job function.
Preventing Construction Site Injuries in Chicago
The most important thing that construction companies and supervisors can do is to ensure then they take every step possible to prevent accidents from occurring. It is crucial for construction companies to:
- Thoroughly train every worker. This includes providing training in a language that every person on the job site understands.
- Provide proper safety equipment. Every construction worker should have the proper protective and safety equipment needed for their particular job. This can include hard hats, goggles, gloves, boots, and various other types of personal protective equipment.
- Establish an effective reporting system. It is crucial that employers hear about potentially hazardous conditions at the worksite. Every worker should be able to report safety concerns without fear of repercussions.