According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry for the 2017 calendar year. Of the 4,674, 971 were construction workers. That means, in 2017, one in five worker deaths were in the construction industry. Construction work is dangerous. It is even more dangerous when proper safety guidelines are not followed. OSHA has construction industry safety standards in place to try and protect workers in an environment that is dangerous even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, these standards are violated all too often and people are put at unneeded risk of injury or death.
What are the Most Common Construction Site OSHA Violations?
While there is a wide range of OSHA violations that occur on construction sites, some occur much more often than others. There is, for instance, the “fatal four” of the construction industry. In 2017, the fatal four were responsible for over half of construction worker deaths. The fatal four refer to the leading causes of death in the construction industry. They are:
- Struck by object
- Caught in/between
It is no surprise that the fatal four line up with some of the most frequently cited construction cite OSHA violations. For example, fall protection violations are very common. Designed to protect construction workers from fall-related accidents, fall protection standards require employers to have the proper fall protection systems in place when workers are at elevations of six feet or greater. Fall protection includes:
- Guard rails
- Portable ladders
- Safety nets
- Hole covers
With these fall protections in place, workers are at a lower risk of injury when working on ladders or roofs or even steel beams.
While on the topic of violations of the fall protection requirements, scaffolding requirements are often cited OSHA violations. A scaffold may not have been constructed properly resulting in the scaffolding tipping over or collapsing. A scaffold is a very important safety feature that is put in place to protect workers from things like falling or from falling objects. That is why there are OSHA standards in place regarding the building, using, and dismantling of scaffolds. Furthermore, employers are required to properly train all workers who will be using scaffolds.
Hazard communication standards are also commonly violated. On a construction site, there is any number of hazardous substances and materials. Contractors bare the responsibility of ensuring that hazardous materials are not only documented, but the documentation is provided to the entire project team. Proper hazard communication also includes proper labeling as well as employee training regarding the proper handling of the hazardous material. Employers must give all workers a list of all the hazardous materials on the construction site and explain how those substances are dangerous. Additionally, employers need to provide the appropriate protective gear for being around hazardous substances.
There are several different types of protection that the employer must provide to employees. Unfortunately, failure to provide adequate safety and protective gear is common in OSHA violations. Respiratory protection must be provided. Head protection, such as a helmet, must be provided. Additionally, eye and face protection must be provided to employees. This means that workers should have personal protection equipment to help keep their eyes and faces safe while on the job.
Representing Injured Construction Workers
When proper safety precautions are not taken, construction workers can be easily injured, and severely so. At Cooper, Schall, & Levy, we represent those construction workers injured on the job and help them get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today.