In terms of the inherent potential for on-the-job injuries, the construction industry carries infinite risks. Balancing on scaffolding, working with power tools and operating heavy equipment can quickly create catastrophic accident injuries that often turn fatal.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines the “focus four,” or “fatal four,” most common types of construction accidents. These incidents include:
- Being struck by objects, such as a moving vehicle or falling materials
- Electrocution, often due to ill-maintained power cords or contact with live powerlines
- Falls resulting from precarious equipment, tripping over tools or improperly used personal restraints systems
- Getting caught in moving parts or underneath materials, such as in a collapse
These recognized safety threats apply to virtually every construction site. However, there are some suggested ways for employers to mitigate risk.
Worksite safety recommendations
Although construction projects vary greatly, a deliberate approach to improving working conditions may be the best way to protect workers. Employers interested in implementing a health and safety plan should consider how to:
- Develop a clear commitment to hazard elimination – starting with the management team
- Encourage worker participation
- Identify and assess risks
- Create hazard prevention measures
- Provide education about rights and responsibilities on the job
- Evaluate plan effectiveness
- Coordinate efforts to decrease recognizable concerns
Based on the nature of the industry, construction companies should do everything within their power to keep workers safe. When injuries or fatalities result, workers or their surviving family members have the right to question responsibility.