General contractors are required to provide safe working environments for their employees. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these were the 10 most common causes of construction site accidents in 2014:
1. Inadequate fall protection
2. Improper labeling of dangerous chemicals
3. Unstable scaffolding and other scaffolding-related incidents
4. Inadequate access to respiratory protection
5. Incidents involving forklifts and lift trucks
6. Improper protection from hazardous energy sources
7. Dangerous ladders and improper ladder use
8. Electrocution, electrical fires, and explosions
9. Dangerous machinery and inadequate machine guarding
10. Improper electrical system design (such as lack of grounding)
Employer Responsibility for Workplace Safety
As you can see, these causes are preventable through adequate training, maintenance, supervision, and the exercise of due care. Thousands of lives could be saved and countless more injuries could be avoided if general contractors reliably adhered to OSHA’s standards and consistently made their workers’ safety their first priority. Unfortunately, all too often, best practices play second fiddle to stringent deadlines, negligence, oversights, and a focus on the bottom line.
How Workers Can Help Themselves Avoid Construction Site Injuries
New and experienced workers alike should participate in their employers’ trainings and safety sessions. While certain tasks may seem straightforward and routine – maybe you have already done them a thousand times – it can be worthwhile to get back to basics.
For example, take the seemingly simple task of climbing a ladder. Before doing so, do you regularly check for rubber stoppers at the base? Do you ensure that the ladder is properly extended and that its locks are secure? Do you always use a spotter? Do you use a hoist instead of carrying heavy objects up the ladder?
Again, these are all issues that your employer should manage through training and supervision. Your employer should also be providing you with proper equipment – OSHA-compliant ladders and hoists, for example – so that you are not forced into situations that can compromise your safety. If your employer is deficient in these areas, it puts you and your co-workers at greater risk of suffering from unnecessary injuries.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation for Construction Site Accidents
Employers who violate OSHA’s requirements may be subject to fines and other discipline. They can also be held financially responsible for their employees’ workplace injuries. In addition, in many construction site accidents, there is more than one responsible party.
Construction workers who suffer jobsite injuries should promptly report the incidents to their employers, and should also contact an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney right away. Doing so will provide you with the best possible chance of obtaining a full financial recovery for your medical bills, missed time from work, and other losses.
Speak with a New Jersey Construction Accident Attorney About Your Case
If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction site or other work-related accident, the experienced attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo can help. Call (888) 675-7607 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.