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June is National Safety Month: Spotlight on Construction Safety

June 15 , 2023


Important Safety Precautions for an Inherently Dangerous Industry: Construction

Construction Safety

At the Ramsay Law Firm, P.A., our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys join the National Safety Council in observing June as National Safety Month as we work together to highlight the leading causes of preventable injury and death in workplaces throughout North Carolina.

Here, we highlight important safety precautions for an inherently dangerous industry: Construction. While there’s been an increased focus on safety and workers’ protection, the nature of the construction industry means that workers will always face some level of risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for more than one in three, 36.4%, of the total number of fatalities in this industry. From scaffolds without proper guardrails and defective ladders to roofing hazards, many of these accidents are caused by preventable factors, including improper training and equipment.

To follow are a few safety precautions construction workers can take to help keep themselves and their fellow workers safe from preventable falls.

How Are Construction Falls Defined for Statistical Purposes?

On a construction jobsite, falls are categorized to include both slips and trips, and falls from heights. Most falls from heights occur due to improper mounting and dismounting from equipment, uneven surfaces, improper ladder use, and the lack of properly employing fall protection equipment. Slips and trips are primarily caused by spills, leaks, or misplaced items.

How Can Construction Workers Help Prevent Falls on North Carolina Job Sites?

Last year, 62 U.S. construction workers died after falling through a surface, hole, or an existing opening in roofs and floors in both new and deconstructed buildings, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

To help prevent falls through surfaces on construction jobsites, workers should:

  • Guard or cover all holes before leaving a work area.
  • Fasten all hole covers with screws and/or nails.
  • Label all covers with the word “hole” or “cover.”
  • Ensure hole covers can support at least two times the weight of workers, equipment, and materials.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported of the 510,500 injuries and illnesses that occur in the construction industry annually — 9,750 are related to scaffolds.

Unfortunately, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reported that scaffold-related accidents result in roughly 60 deaths every year.

To help prevent falls from scaffolding on construction jobsites, workers should:

  • Keep the area organized and clear to avoid clutter that can lead to trips and falls or falling object hazards.
  • Wear a hard hat and non-slip shoes to prevent injuries from falling objects and slips and falls.
  • Be aware of load limits, as scaffolds need to support four times the maximum intended load without failure, according to OSHA.
  • Use proper safety equipment, including guardrails and personal fall arrest systems.
  • Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions when constructing the scaffold to ensure it is built properly.
  • Avoid power lines by leaving at least ten feet of clearance between electrical hazards and construction.
  • Appoint a supervisor to oversee the building, moving and dismantling of scaffolding, as well as inspecting it before each shift and when work is done.

Following all construction jobsite safety protocols every day, during every shift, helps construction workers make it home safely at the end of the day.

Contact Our Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina

Our dedicated Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm provides free consultations to all employees who have suffered a workplace injury in North Carolina by calling 704-376-1616 or contacting us online.

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