What Are Common Hazards in a Construction Site?
Construction is a dangerous industry. Nationally, construction has the highest rate of fatal workplace injuries in all industries. Hundreds of thousands of construction workers are injured or killed across the country every year. Below, we discuss some of the most common hazards facing construction workers in West Virginia. If you or someone you care about has been hurt or killed in a WV construction accident, reach out to a seasoned Martinsburg construction accident lawyer.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Construction sites are littered with slipping and tripping hazards. Loose equipment, materials, wires, and machinery lurk around every corner. Cleaning solutions, rain, ice, and chemicals create wet surfaces all over worksites. Construction teams must be constantly vigilant to ensure that loose objects are collected, wet surfaces are cleaned or appropriately marked, and proper lighting is installed. Workers who slip and fall are not only in danger of striking their heads on hard surfaces; they are also in danger of falling into dangerous machinery, falling from heights, falling into dangerous chemicals, falling into other workers, or otherwise exposing themselves to any number of hazards around the worksite.
Falls from Height
In addition to the dangers of falling generally, construction workers face additional risks because they often work on elevated surfaces. When ladders fail, scaffolding collapses, inadequate safety railings are installed, or a worker otherwise loses their footing and tumbles from an elevated location, they are likely to incur serious injury.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Construction involves more than heavy machinery. Construction workers often work with dangerous chemicals as part of the construction process. Workers who are not afforded proper safety equipment or training risk exposure to toxic airborne materials such as asbestos, toxic dust, paints, adhesives, and other dangerous fumes. Workers also face injury if their skin is exposed to corrosive chemical solutions.
Struck by Objects
Objects dropped from elevated surfaces can easily strike workers below, injuring them directly or sending them tumbling into other hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists “struck by objects” as one of the top four leading causes of construction worker fatality. Workers should be constantly vigilant for flying, falling, or rolling objects, and they should have proper protective equipment to avoid the most serious consequences of being struck.
Extremely Loud Noises
We all know that construction is a loud enterprise, but we do not often consider the danger of those loud noises. Not all worksite injuries occur because someone fell off of a scaffold or was hit by a falling wrench. According to OSHA, extended exposure to noise levels over 85 decibels can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Equipment commonly used in construction exceeds that threshold, including: belt sanders (90 decibels); forklifts (93 decibels); nail guns (97 decibels); concrete saws (98 decibels); bulldozers (100 decibels); jackhammers (102 decibels); and chainsaws (110 decibels). Extended exposure to these loud noises without proper noise-canceling safety equipment is likely to cause long-term damage to workers’ hearing.
Construction sites are littered with high-powered machinery. Any number of incidents can lead to electrocution, from a worker touching an exposed wire to a scaffold or ladder falling on to a power line or piece of heavy equipment. Electrocution accounts for more than eight percent of all construction worker fatalities nationwide.
HELP WITH YOUR MARTINSBURG CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT CLAIM
If you or someone you love has been injured on a construction worksite in West Virginia, call the passionate and dedicated Martinsburg personal injury attorneys Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson at 304-263-0900 or (304) LAWYERS for a free consultation.