You probably already know that the construction industry is a dangerous one to work in. Every year, according to statistics from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, thousands of construction workers in Minnesota and across the country die or sustain serious injuries on the job. Despite the precautions you take to keep yourself and others safe at your work site, you might be at risk from safety violations.
Vital safety standards are mandatory at every construction site to reduce the numbers of fatal and disabling accidents that occur yearly in the construction industry. However, not everyone always observes these standards. For example, your employer might find that skipping training or the provision of necessary safety equipment increases work speed and cuts costs. Your coworkers might engage in dangerous horseplay or disregard safety measures.
The following are some of the most common construction safety violations you might encounter at your work site.
- Scaffolding equipment not being on a stable surface, or the walking surface lacking covering to prevent falls
- Faulty power tools still in disrepair and in use
- Workers lacking harnesses, hard hats, gloves or other tools to prevent common injuries
- Workers failing to watch out for others or use guarding equipment when operating machinery or driving construction vehicles
- Unstable structures lacking proper tethering, braces or support to prevent them from falling and crushing those working nearby
- The appropriate respiratory equipment not in use in low-oxygen environments or areas containing high levels of air contaminants
Many of these construction accidents fall into a category you may have heard of, called the “fatal four” in the industry. In order of rate of occurrence, they involve falls (both from heights and at ground level), strikes from objects, electrocution and entrapment in or between equipment. Safety experts admonish that 602 construction worker deaths a year would not happen with the elimination of these four incidents.