A Picture is Worth 1,000 Safety Concerns

Recently, officials with the National Safety Council (NSC) released a picture of work being done on a new office building. But something in the picture ultimately resulted in safety officials being alerted. In the picture, a worker was standing on what appears to be the third story of a building — he was standing on the ledge of an open hole in the wall where a window was going to be installed. He was standing there with no fall protection, no harness and nothing to catch him if he fell.
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According to the report put together by the NSC, the height of the man standing on the ledge of the building exceeded the 4:1 height to base ratio. There were no midrails and no ladder access. To make is even worse, the scaffold used in the picture was not erected and was not properly inspected.

Our Greensboro workers’ compensation attorneys understand that the risks don’t stop there. According to the NSC, the forklift in the picture was also sitting on top of an embankment — a dangerous move to gain access to higher parts of the structure. Even worse — the person on the forklift is not even an employee — but the superintendent’s teenage son.

When looking at this picture, it’s like you’re playing one of those eyesight games from the newspaper — “What’s wrong with this picture?” The only problem is that this picture is a real-life snapshot of what construction workers are dealing with on a daily basis here in the U.S.

So what were the problems in the picture?

-The employee on the scaffold could have fallen. It had not guard railing.

-The scaffold exceeded the allowable 4:1 height to base ratio to help to reduce risks of tipover accidents.

-The two workers who were on the pallet could also have fallen off or could have been thrown from the forklift.

How do we fix these kinds of problems?

-No scaffolds should be erected, altered or moved unless they’re under the proper supervision.

-Scaffolds should be inspected before each shift.

-Workers who are exposed to falls should be provided with the proper fall arrest system, like a safety net system, a guard rail system or any other kind of fall protection.

-Underage workers and all other unauthorized individuals should be kept off of the construction site.

-Workers should never be lifted on forklifts of trucks.

-Supervisors need to be present on the worksite and working to ensure that the site is safe for everyone. They should all have completed some kind of supervisory training or the 10/30 hour training through OSHA.

-Employees should be trained in workplace dangers and in ways to reduce the risks of accidents on these work sites.

The truth of the matter is that construction sites are the most dangerous areas to work in throughout the United States. Of the more than 4,000 workers killed on the job in 2011, close to 18 percent of them were in construction, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, followed by electrocution, struck by object, and caught-in/between.

If you, a family member or a loved one has been injured on-the-job, contact the Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Carolina Construction Workers Risking Lives Daily, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, January 15, 2013

OSHA Targets High-Risk Workplaces, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, January 13, 2013

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