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OSHA details top construction workplace dangers

Californians who work construction will often have to do so at great heights on ladders and scaffoldings. This can lead to risk of falling. These workers will also perform their duties in trenches, and with large pieces of equipment and heavy tools. These factors can lead to a litany of different accidents. When there is an accident on the job, a victim can suffer severe injuries and death. Equipment hitting them, the collapse of a trench, and a ladder fall, just to name a few types of accidents, can cause substantial damage. Researchers are consistently examining workplace accidents to determine how and why they occur and find methods to put a stop to them. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has studied construction falls and has found them to be one of the most common causes of safety violations.

For 2017, fall protection is one of the biggest issues with which OSHA seeks to deal. This stems from rankings devised by the National Safety Council (NSC). That organization found that the four violations that arise most frequently in the workplace include inadequate fall protection, failure to have guardrails on scaffoldings, improper ladder use, and a lack of training in fall-protection. The full list will come later in the year, but substantive changes to the current results are not expected. Fall protection is a new addition to the top 10 in the list.

Concerns about fall protection have been increasing. In 2015, there were 937 fatalities on job sites and 350 were fall-related. An increase in fines has been implemented for certain violations in hopes that it will curtail these workplace injuries, but the statistics speak for themselves. Companies have been fined more than $1 million for violations with fall-protection and yet these incidences continue to increase in frequency. Another danger that is under scrutiny is trenches. A company was fined nearly $100,000 for a non-fatal trench collapse. Adequate protection systems and proper inspections had not been done.

Workers who are injured in an on-the-job accident could face hospitalization, surgery, long-term damage to his or her health, and the inability to return to work quickly if they are able to get back to work at all. This can put a strain on them in a multitude of ways. If there is a fatality, surviving family members will need to devise a way to move forward without a loved one who contributed to the family's financial well-being. Having legal assistance to seek compensation after workplace injuries or fatalities occur is imperative to secure the financial resources needed to seek recovery and find closure.

Source: Construction Dive, "Construction falls lead OSHA's top safety violations for 2017," Kim Slowey, Sept. 27, 2017

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