Construction sites are often among the most dangerous places to work, with construction accidents accounting for more than twenty percent of all work-related fatalities across the United States, including in New York. While contractors and work site owners are supposed to take steps to prevent harm to workers on the site, all too often they will cut corners to save time or money, and when they do, it is often workers who must pay the price. Here are five common safety violations found on construction sites that result in injury or death:
- Unsecured scaffolding
- Working in construction often means working on an elevated platform, where there is a potential risk of falling and suffering an injury. Whether this scaffolding is rooted in place or suspended from above, it is supposed to be properly secured to prevent it from shaking, tilting, swaying, or collapsing. When proper steps are not taken to secure the scaffolding, it can result in construction accidents as workers fall from above, or from objects that fall from these platforms onto unsuspecting people below.
- Lack of fall protection
- Even with properly secured scaffolding, there is always the risk that someone will trip or slip and fall from an elevated platform. To deal with this, construction sites are supposed to have fall protection, such as netting or personal arrest systems, put into place, which keep workers from suffering harm when they fall. When contractors or site owners fail to ensure there is proper fall protection, it makes construction accidents that much more likely.
- Lack of protective gear
- Construction workers face a variety of potential hazards as part of their job, including working with dangerous tools, handling potentially toxic chemicals, or working around live wiring. To combat these hazards, workers are supposed to be provided with protective gear, such as gloves, helmets, and face masks, which can protect against the many harms they may come across. Unfortunately, many contractors will skimp on protective gear for their workers, making it far more likely they will be cut, struck, burned, electrocuted, or poisoned on the job.
- Circumventing lockout/tagout systems
- Lockout and tagout systems are mechanisms put into place to make it safer for workers to handle energized equipment. Use of these systems is meant to make it so no worker is in contact with the equipment while electricity is flowing through it. However, some contractors will circumvent these systems to save time, which makes it far more likely they will be electrocuted. Given that electrocution is the third highest cause of fatalities in construction, this threat should not be underestimated.
- Failure to communicate hazards
- Appropriately communicating the presence of certain hazards is essential to maintaining safety on a construction site. Construction workers often use flammable, caustic, and toxic substances as part of the job, or at least work in the presence of these substances, and knowing the hazards are present allows them to take proper precautions to protect themselves from harm. Additionally, work sites may sometimes become unstable, creating a risk of collapse. When these hazards are not properly indicated, it increases the risk of a variety of different injuries, many of which can cause long-term harm or death.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while working on a construction site, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in construction site accident cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City construction accident lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island construction accident lawyers call (516) 294-8282.