There are millions of members of the U.S. workforce who put their lives on the line every day. One of the most hazardous occupations is construction, and if this is how you earn your income, you might experience anxiety about the risks you face and your ability to provide for your family if you should suffer an occupational injury. Not all employers in Nebraska prioritize employee safety, often leaving it up to workers to look after themselves.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates workplace safety on construction sites, and gaining knowledge about the prescribed guidelines may help you to avoid harm. Although most workplace accidents are preventable, you may often be at risk of suffering serious injury or worse.
Construction site safety hazards
The activities on construction sites can include work on damaged, elevated and unfinished structures, along with dangerous power tools, lift trucks and other equipment that can pose various potential hazards. The following are only some dangers you may face:
- Falling after slipping or tripping
- Falling from heights after a scaffold collapse or from a roof with unprotected edges or hidden skylights
- Struck by falling objects
- Struck by a moving object such as a crane boom or a moving vehicle
- Forklift accident
- Electric shock
- Chemical spill
Recommended safety precautions
Scaffold safety requires compliance with rigging guidelines and proper supervision that includes frequent inspections and hazard assessment. Avoid scaffolds without guardrails or those that are wet and slippery, and keep in mind that randomly placed tools can fall and hurt others below. Never enter unsecured trenches, and examine any ladder for defects before using it.
Insist on adequate training before you operate dangerous equipment or machinery, and examine the safety instructions of any hazardous chemicals before working with them. Always be cautious around electricity, and never work on electrical circuits without double checking that the power is off. Your employer must provide personal protective equipment such as fall protection, a hard hat, hearing and eye protection.
What to do in the event of a construction accident
Report any on-the-job accident on a construction site to your employer or supervisor immediately -- even those that seem minor, regardless of whether anybody suffered injuries. If you or a co-worker needs medical care, make sure someone calls emergency services. Although there is a deadline to file workers' compensation benefits claims, you may be wise first to discuss your injuries with a legal representative to make sure you ultimately receive maximum compensation.