Construction company owners in New York and across the nation must provide safe work environments and protect the health and safety of employees. However, deadlines and the bottom line are the focus of many employers. If this is the case on the construction site where you work, you may put your life on the line every day.
However, if you are aware of the risks, you could take your own precautions. Furthermore, you have the right to refuse tasks that pose severe construction injury hazards.
Most common construction site risks
The fatality rate among construction workers is higher than in all other industries. For this reason, it might be a good idea to become familiar with the most prevalent injury risks, which will allow you to take mitigating steps to stay safe.
Caught in or between objects
These injuries can occur whenever you place your body between a moving and a stationary object. The following are typical caught-in or -between hazards:
- Avoid working with unguarded machinery. Safeguards must be present to prevent contact with moving parts.
- Unguarded machinery typically poses pull-in, pinch, crush and wrap injuries.
- Working in trenches with unsecured walls can cause caught-in hazards in the event of a cave-in.
Falls from heights
Working on scaffolds and other elevated areas are par for the course in the construction industry. Before getting on a scaffold, you could assess the stability of the structure at the start of each day. Along with fall hazards, the following dangers are typically present in scaffold work:
- Electrocution hazards will be present if the structure is near overhead power lines.
- Falling objects from scaffolds or other elevated work areas pose significant hazards to workers at lower levels.
- You will risk falling from a scaffold if you work without a fall arrest harness, and the absence of toe boards, midrails and guardrails will exacerbate the injury risks.
Falling debris and objects
Scaffolds, multi-level projects and other elevated work areas pose dropped object hazards. The following safety precautions can protect workers at lower levels:
- Safety nets, guardrails and toe boards can prevent tools or materials falling onto lower-level workers.
- Tethering tools and objects with lanyards secured on approved anchor points can prevent this danger.
- Controlled access to elevated areas can prevent overcrowding, which increases the risk of dropping objects.
All construction sites have uneven terrain and randomly placed objects and materials that pose trip-and-fall hazards. The following are additional fall hazards:
- Holes with unprotected edges like skylights, elevator shafts and excavations pose fall risks.
- Housekeeping is crucial to clear walkways of wetness, debris and materials that pose trip and slip hazards.
Electrical shocks can occur by directly touching live wires, or indirectly when you touch an object that conducts electricity. The following precautions might keep you safe:
- Keep a lookout for exposed wiring, incomplete electrical systems and power lines.
- Always wear a hard hat, which can protect you from electrical hazards, flying or falling objects, or other impacts.
Despite all your efforts to stay safe, you might fall victim to a workplace accident. If you do, you might find comfort in knowing that the New York workers’ compensation insurance system will have your back. An attorney with experience in helping injured workers to obtain maximum benefits can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout ensuing administrative and legal proceedings.