Identifying and preventing common construction site hazards

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration statistics, there were nearly a thousand construction-related deaths in 2016. It's estimated that about 60 percent of these fatalities were preventable. Most men and women in Kentucky choosing to work in the construction industry are aware of the inherent risks associated with this type of work. However, there are certain common safety hazards that may present less of a risk for workers if the right precautions are taken.

More than a third of construction industry deaths each year are attributed to falls, which are often related to unstable work surfaces or failure to properly use safety equipment, ladders or scaffolding. Being struck by objects is another common source of workers' compensation claims and serious injuries. Nearly 10 percent of construction site deaths can be attributed to electrical safety issues, and a significant number of workers within this profession are seriously or fatally injured in construction site trenches or from exposure to hazardous materials.

Falls may be prevented by making sure scaffolds and ladders are properly stabilized and sized for specific jobs, and it's vital to ensure that employees working more than 6 feet above a surface have fall prevention equipment. Training on the proper use of cranes and other equipment that used to lift or move heavy objects may minimize injuries from falling objects. Enforcing and posting electrical safety rules, identifying and locating utilities and power sources, securing trench walls and providing employees with material safety data sheets specific to hazardous materials they'll be working with are additional steps that help keep workers safe at construction sites.

Following a construction site accident, some employees may have difficulty securing workers' compensation benefits. If this is the case, an attorney might be able to speed up the process by determining the source of the delay and taking appropriate steps to secure funds for medical expenses and lost wages. A workers' comp lawyer may also provide assistance with employer disputes over benefit amounts or the duration of benefits, denied medical benefits, or a permanent partial disability award if injuries are severe or disabling.

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