A recent case of construction site accident in Oklahoma happened in 2022. It involved two male workers who were working on a sewer line but died after falling in a 25 feet manhole in North East Edmond- KFOR News.
Many other cases have been reported, and the construction industry accounts for a significant percentage of occupational injuries. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,102 fatal injuries occurred in the construction industry in 2019. The figure represents about 20.7% of the total workplace fatalities in the US.
Slips, trips, falls and electrocutions are the major causes of construction injuries and can have devastating effects on workers.
Common Causes of Construction Site Injuries
Understanding the common causes of injuries in construction industries helps avoid accidents and injuries. Nonetheless, abiding by the safety protocols can improve worker safety.
The primary causes of injuries include:
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are common causes of accidents on construction sites. An example is a case of a worker who fell along with a scissor lift from the 14th floor of the BOK Park Plaza tower, 499 W Sheridan Ave.
Luckily, safety nets were in place, which signifies the importance of adequate safety measures in construction sites.
Such incidents are preventable, and workers should beware of their surroundings and report any safety hazards immediately. Clearing pathways of clutter and having adequate lighting also helps avoid injuries.
Slips and falls in construction sites mainly result from:
- Sloped walking surfaces
Crush incidents primarily result from machinery at construction sites. Examples range from vehicle accidents or workers getting in the way of machines and equipment. Run-over accidents can lead to severe injuries, and are common lawsuits requiring a skilled attorney in Oklahoma.
Explosions and Burns
Explosions in construction sites mainly result from halogen lights, electrical shorts, heating equipment, and sparks from welding works. Fires and eruptions may also emanate from flammable materials used in construction work and pose a risk of burns to construction workers.
Electrical hazards are common dangers in construction sites. According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report, 61% of US workplace electrocutions happened in construction sites in 2015.
Electrical dangers affect all workers, even those not working directly with electrical-powered equipment. Electrical mishaps can cause burn injuries or death to workers when exposed power lines can ignite explosive gases in the construction site.
Construction workers endure lots of noise from heavy machinery and heavy-duty tasks. Many experience noise levels of over 85 decibels, which can lead to hearing loss, especially if workers lack proper hearing protection gear.
Falling items can cause non-fatal injuries to site workers and may include construction materials or tools such as hammers, blocks, or steel beams. Timber off-cuts are also common in construction sites and can cause fractures and bruises when falling from high story floors.
How to Prevent Falls From Heights
Working at heights requires adequate preparation and protection by putting safety procedures in place. Employee training will also help prevent the associated injuries. Here is how to avoid falls from heights;
1. Identify Potential Hazards
Construction workers should beware of their surroundings and identify any potential fall hazards. Staying organized with the right tools, especially when working on unstable surfaces, goes a long way.
Moreover, workers should watch out for risky situations that can lead to falls. For instance, it is easy to fall off a rooftop, and inspecting the site before climbing helps.
2. Set Proper Protective Measures
Putting appropriate safety measures in place lessens the risk of falls and injuries when working at heights. Workers should know the do’s and don’ts to ensure a safe working environment. Examples include:
- Having cameras and other tech devices to aid visibility
- Wearing protective apparel
3. Have an Emergency Plan
Site managers should plan for an emergency team or procedures to respond to fall incidents. Worker training also helps. It furnishes workers with adequate information to help handle safety hazards and fall accidents.
4. Regular Updates
Periodic information on safety measures at the construction site will keep workers in the know. Similarly, frequent risk assessments will enhance safety and make it a priority, thus minimizing the risk of falls.
Safe Use of Machinery
Construction sites are synonymous with heavy equipment, ranging from large excavators and front-end loaders to graders. Understanding how each works and staying safe when operating the machines is critical.
Here is why; heavy construction equipment can pose safety hazards when used inappropriately. However, workers can minimize the risk of injuries by understanding how to operate the equipment.
The importance of heavy equipment safety cannot be overemphasized. Training workers on equipment safety can help mitigate hazards while working around such equipment.
The common dangers of working around heavy construction equipment include the following;
Heavy construction machines feature various moving parts, which are safe when not in use but can cause considerable damage when in motion.
Therefore, workers should watch out for moving elements such as rotating shafts, sharp edges, scissor actions, and detachable connections. Doing this avoids risks such as crushing, entanglement, cuts, and slips which may happen when evading moving components.
Most machines have stored energy; examples are; hot surfaces, gasses or fluids under pressure, and electrical charges. Hazards in this category may also include dangerous substances like chemical by-products and exhaust emissions.
Other non-mechanical hazards include:
- Steam releases
- Explosive/flammable atmosphere
- Conducted heat
- Heavy metals
- Ionizing radiation
- High-intensity light- lasers, welding arc flashes
Having safe access near machinery paths helps avoid injuries. A lack of clear pathways can lead to entanglement, exposing workers to various safety hazards. However, such dangers can be avoided through worker education and awareness.
Avoiding Electrocution Hazards
Having the right safety measures in place helps reduce electrocution among construction workers. These are, for instance;
- Storing metal tools or objects away for live electrical circuits
- De-energize circuits before servicing site equipment
- Proper grounding and double insulation of electrical equipment
- Inspecting tools before use
- Regularly check power cables for wear and tear
- Disconnecting electrical equipment during inspection or repairs
- Determining the location of underground/ overhead power lines to prevent accidental contact
- Adhering to NFPA electrical safety standards
If you have suffered an injury on a construction site, our expert team can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us or call us at 918-359-6600 today for a free consultation.