The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries for employees. For this reason, officials with the North Carolina Department of Labor are working to raise awareness about the top four hazards these workers face. They're talking about these risks and ways to help to prevent these kinds of accidents.
Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys understand that construction workers risk their lives far too often on the job. They're working with some seriously heavy equipment and they're working at some alarming heights. If not careful, serious accidents can result in the blink of an eye. We're here with the North Carolina Department of Labor to talk with you about these incidents and beneficial ways to prevent them.
Falls are the number one risk that construction workers throughout the state face. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these accidents account for about a third of all construction fatalities each year. What's even worse is that these incidents have been increasing annually since 2003.
To help to protect against these accidents, workers should be provided with the proper fall arrest systems. Workers should be provided with safety netting, guardrails and/or safety harnesses. When employees are required to work 10 or more feet above a lower level, they should be provided with guardrails in addition to a fully planked work surface and toe boards.
Electrocution is also one of the leading causes of work fatalities for construction employees. On average, someone is electrocuted and dies as a result every day here in the U.S.
To help to protect against these accidents, workers should be provided with ground fault circuit interrupters. All power tools should be grounded before use and tools should be inspected before each and every use. Lastly, workers should never be required to complete a job near energized power lines.
Construction workers are oftentimes hit by falling, flying or swinging objects on the job. Working below elevated work sites heightens this risk. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 25 percent of construction employee fatalities are a result of these incidents.
To help eliminate these risks, workers should stay away from suspended boards. Structures should also be barricaded. If employees work near traffic, they should be equipped with reflective vests to help motorists to see them.
These accidents can easily happen when working in trenches, working with heavy machinery and even when working in between large objects. Close to 20 percent of all on-the-job deaths in the construction injury are a result of "caught-in" accidents.
To help to reduce the risks of these accidents, workers in trenches should have ladders, trench walls and the proper supervision. Those working with heavy equipment should stay out of the area in which the machinery is being operated. Never disable or remove equipment guards.