Safety Issues in the Construction Industry

Working in the construction industry can be a very challenging and dangerous occupation.  At Kraft Davies Olsson we represent both residential and commercial construction workers.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are approximately 6,000,000 people working in the construction industry.  In 2014, 4,821 workers died on-the-job; and roughly 20 percent of those deaths were construction worker fatalities.  Among construction worker deaths, there were four leading causes that amounted to over 50 percent of the total deaths; 1) Falls – 359 deaths; 2) Electrocutions – 74 deaths; 3) Struck by Objection – 73 deaths; 4) Caught-in/between – 12 deaths. Construction work can be dangerous, as evident by the 2009 fatal occupational injury rate nearly three times that of all workers in the United States (9.7 injuries 100,000 full-time equivalent construction vs. 3.3 for all workers).  The construction industry also encompassed three of the top ten occupations with the highest fatal injury rate: 1) Roofers; 2) Structural iron and steel workers; 3) Laborers.  Among the frequently cited OSHA standards violated in fiscal year 2015 were two construction specific violations; 1) Fall Protection and 2) Scaffolding.  Falls are the greatest cause of fatal construction injuries.

At Kraft Davies Olsson we suggest taking the following safety measures to help ensure a safe construction working environment.

Protecting against falls in a construction zone can greatly reduce injuries and fatalities for the most lethal part of the construction industry.  To protect against falls, guardrails, safety nets, floor covers, and restraint systems should be put in place.

In addition, scaffolding is also a highly dangerous aspect of the construction industry.  Roughly 2.3 million construction workers frequently work on scaffolds.  To ensure safer use of scaffolds, all scaffolds should be inspected routinely to ensure they are sound, rigid, and capable of carrying sufficient weight.  In addition, all scaffolds should be equipped with guardrails, midrails, and toe boards.  Furthermore, unstable objects such as boxes, loose bricks, or barrels should not be used to support scaffolds.

Other sources of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry include ladders, hazardous materials and, electrical wires.  All ladders should be inspected prior to use and the appropriate length ladder should be used for a task.  In addition, a material safety data sheet should be found on all construction sites, proper instruction and communication about all chemicals being used should be given, and all spills should be cleaned up and materials properly disposed.  Furthermore, all electrical tools and wires should be properly grounded and routinely checked for condition.

All individuals working in a construction zone should take the following personal safety measures to avoid hazards that cause injuries or potential fatalities.  Every worker should wear proper safety glasses or face shields, work shoes or boots with safety-toed functionality, proper work gloves for jobsite, and hard hats in hazardous areas.

At Kraft Davies Olsson we take pride in representing both residential and commercial construction workers.  Our lawyers are available to consult with you regarding your options relating to a construction injury or death claim, please call us at (206) 624-8844, or contact us through this website.



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