A South Carolina construction worker lost his life at the end of last year when he was struck in the head by a piece of iron. According to South Carolina Radio Network, the worker was removing steel beams when a 30-foot piece of steel tumbled seven feet and hit him in the head.
This death was one of many similar fatal accidents that befell construction workers. In 2011, there were 81 worker fatalities in South Carolina, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, there were another 62 worker deaths. Eight workers were killed in falls and six were killed when they came into contact with objects or equipment, like the man hit by the falling steel.
Every worker death is tragic, and it is important for employers and workers to know the biggest risks that are faced by construction workers on the job. As the summer season approaches and more construction projects get started, workers and employers should follow tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to prevent injuries caused by the “fatal four” top causes of death in the construction industry. Workers also need to understand their legal rights if they do get hurt. A >Greenville, SC workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
Top Risks on South Carolina Construction Sites
According to OSHA, there are four primary causes of construction-worker fatalities. The top causes of death include:
- Being caught between objects
- Getting hit by objects
Tips for preventing these top causes of construction worker death include the following:
- Always ensure appropriate fall protection gear is used. Employers should provide personal fall protection gear and workers should use it whenever they work at high elevation.
- Always ensure that holes and gaps are covered. Employers should have a policy that labeled covers are to be used, and workers should cover areas where there is a hole or drop to a lower elevation.
- Follow good ladder safety practices. Employers need to store ladders in appropriate locations and provide ladders that are sufficient height to extend at least three feet above the landing point. Workers should keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
- Stay out of the path of moving objects. Workers need to avoid getting between fixed and moving objects and should wear brightly-colored clothing to ensure visibility when near machines or vehicles.
- Follow trench safety procedures. Employers should provide a shield system and/or should require the use of shoring or benching. Workers should avoid trenches or excavated areas without adequate protections, especially if the trench is at least five feet deep.
- Leave a buffer zone around electrical wiring. Before using any moving equipment or doing work, safety hazards should be identified and a buffer zone created.
- Use appropriate tools. Tools should be double insulated or grounded and ground fault circuit interrupters should be utilized for all electrical hookups on a worksite.
If workers and employers follow these best practices and comply with OSHA requirements, hopefully fewer fatalities will occur and construction workers will get through the prime construction season safely.
If you have suffered a work injury, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
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