The Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified four safety hazards that are the most threatening to the lives of construction workers. Employers can establish a culture of safety among workers by implementing ongoing safety training to keep employees educated about workplace safety.
If you are an employee of a Nebraska construction company, steps you can take to protect your safety include heeding safety training and doing whatever you can to comply with regulations. It might save your life and the lives of others if you report to your supervisor any safety hazards you come across, and the same applies for near-misses.
The fatal four
The most significant hazard on a construction site might be complacency. When complacency strikes at such sites, workers might be at an even higher risk when they face any of the following four safety hazards:
- Falls from heights: Reportedly, falls from higher levels are the primary causes of occupational fatalities. According to OSHA, the reason for the high number of fatal falls in construction is the lack of proper fall protection on some work sites. The areas around dangerous equipment and machinery, as well as open-sided walkways, platforms and elevated floors must have toe-boards and guardrails. Fall protection includes safety harnesses, lanyards and safety nets, which can only protect you if you know how to use them.
- Struck-by hazards: Number two on the hazard list is the risk of objects striking you. The dangers can include objects falling from above, debris or tools flying through the air, suspended objects or loads swaying or swinging, and rolling objects such as equipment or vehicles in motion. Protect yourself by wearing the necessary personal protective gear such as a hard hat and safety goggles. Avoid working under suspended loads or below other workers on elevated levels and stay out of the way of vehicles.
- Electrical hazards: Never underestimate the danger posed by electricity. Do not work on electricity if you are not qualified to do so, and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment to avoid arc flashes. Make sure you are not close to overhead power lines.
- Caught between or in equipment: Working parts of machines pose significant dangers. This hazard involves the risk of a body part being caught and crushed in the operating parts or between two objects. It is always best to isolate the energy to any equipment before you repair or clean it and to avoid reaching into machines to remove blockages. Chock the wheels of mobile equipment. Avoid wearing jewelry and loose-fitting clothing that a machine can catch and pull in, and tie back long hair for the same reason.
Even if you have done the same jobs for decades, being aware of construction site risks and complying with safety regulations may help in keeping you out of the hospital. However, in the unfortunate event of a workplace accident that causes injuries, you may be able to turn to the Nebraska workers' compensation insurance system for help with medical expenses and lost wages. You may use the services of experienced legal counsel to navigate the claims process.