Construction sites are easily one of the most dangerous of all US worksites. Thus, it is no surprise that construction workers are likewise among those most commonly injured on the job. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) even has a special term for the most common construction-related accidents, which it terms the”fatal four.” These include falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects, being caught in between something. However, just because construction accidents are relatively common, that does not make them at all acceptable. To improve safety it is imperative to understand – and then avoid – the factors which may make an accident more likely. Some major factors that contribute to the occurrence of construction accidents include the following.
Poor Training and Supervision
Poor training of workers and lacking supervision at job sites is easily one of the most dangerous combinations. Construction workers will be operating heavy, often complicated equipment and will also be working with massive materials. There is no place on a construction site for untrained, unskilled workers who could hurt themselves or their coworkers. At the same time, however, even highly competent, experienced workers require supervision from someone to ensure that they do not become so focused on their own tasks that they unknowingly do something dangerous.
Inadequate Emphasis on Safety
Not all construction companies are created equally when it comes to safety. Some do a great job emphasizing safety and integrating it into their culture as a company. Unfortunately some companies do not and may outright, or at least tacitly, emphasize profits and productivity over safety. This is often a recipe for disaster as employees make decisions that are more concerned with the bottom line than they are with avoiding accidents.
Excessive Work Demands
Studies consistently show that for most tasks a small-to-moderate amount of stress may actually improve performance, whereas excessive stress often completely undermines performance. Anecdotally most people have experienced the increase in mistakes that accompany rushing to complete something. Thus for safety reasons the last thing a construction site needs is tired, overworked, stressed out employees rushing to complete a project on time. This is particularly true since many safety procedures take a little more time and effort than skipping them would, thus tempting overwhelmed workers to cut corners.
Even the safest, most astute construction worker has little chance of avoiding an accident if a catastrophic equipment failure occurs. Sometimes faulty equipment may be due to a manufacturing defect. Often, however, equipment failure is due to poor maintenance, missed inspections, because the equipment is too old or features outdated technology, or because it is being used in a way not recommended for that particular piece of equipment.
Sometimes a hazardous worksite may be due to environmental conditions such as uneven terrain, high elevation, poor accessibility, or extreme weather. However, a hazardous worksite may also arise due to chaotic conditions and poor organization, insufficient cleanup, poor safety procedures, and other very preventable factors. Construction work is dangerous enough without being exacerbated by a hazardous worksite.
If you have been injured in a construction accident then it is imperative that protect yourself. First seek immediate medical attention and follow all of the directives given to you by your physician. Next, make sure to protect your legal rights and to fight for the full, fair compensation you deserve for your accident. Dies & Parkhurst are experts in construction accident litigation. We are committed to fighting for our clients and their families and ensuring that they are not the victims of injustice. Contact us for a consultation so that we can review the specifics of your case and advise you on your legal options.