Deadly safety violations common on construction sites
Most Pennsylvania residents who work in the construction industry are aware that they have one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. According to Bloomberg, several trades in the construction field factor in the top 20 deadliest jobs in the country. These include roofing, electrical work and structural construction. Fatalities for construction workers average about 18.76 for every 100,000 employees.
Top four deadliest construction accidents
Four different types of job injuries in particular result in a large number of workers being killed on the job, reports EHS Today. These accidents, making up 57 percent of construction deaths in 2012, are known as the “fatal four.” They include the following:
· Falls – the number one cause of construction deaths, attributed to 36 percent of all fatal construction accidents in 2012
· Being caught between objects
· Being struck by objects or machinery
Pennsylvania ranked as one of the top 10 states in the country for the highest numbers of construction deaths in 2012.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken numerous measures to reduce the number of “fatal four” accidents and other types of construction accidents that cause serious injuries or death. These measures include standardized safety regulations. However, states Electrical Construction & Maintenance, safety violations frequently occur in jobsites across the country. It is not uncommon for OSHA officials to encounter numerous safety violations at construction sites during random inspections – in fact, the agency reports it is rare to inspect a job site that has no violations at all.
Scaffolding violations are the most common of these. A worker’s chances of sustaining injuries in a fall are greatly increased when scaffolding structures are not constructed on a stable surface or the walking surfaces are not fully planked. Excavation violations are also common, with workers or supervisors neglecting to brace or shore the walls of a trench, creating a deadly cave-in risk. Electrical violations occur frequently as well, such as cables or wiring not being de-energized or grounded before work commences.
This appeared to be the case in a tragic construction accident at the King of Prussia Mall last April. ABC Action News reported that a 13,000-volt cable was still energized when two workers inside a scissor jack lift cut through it. One worker was electrocuted, while his co-worker was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The injuries sustained in a construction accident are often severe and result in months or years of rehabilitation, if not permanent disability. Those who were injured on a construction site, or family members who lost a loved one in an accident, should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A workers’ compensation attorney may be necessary to protect the rights of injured workers and their families.