Lack Of Safety Equipment On Construction Sites
Those who work on construction sites are usually aware of the potential hazards associated with performing their jobs. Some of the risks for workers include falling objects, heavy equipment operation, malfunctioning tools, and defective machinery. Employers are responsible for providing safety equipment to protect construction site workers, and those who manufacture equipment used by workers are liable for the products they produce. Those with concerns about the lack of safety equipment on construction sites and their subsequent injuries are invited to reach out to the experienced attorneys at The Mark Casto Law Firm at 706-940-4002.
Common Safety Issues on Construction Sites
While construction companies have taken additional steps in recent years to improve safety and protect workers against the risk of injuries or even death, there are still circumstances that leave construction workers at risk. Some of the most common include:
Scaffolding accidents are highly common, especially when a scaffold is not assembled properly or used as it should be. Scaffolding may collapse, or a construction worker may fall from great heights. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines require that workers are trained on the use of scaffolding.
Ladder and Stairway Accidents
Each year in the United States there are on average 36 fatalities resulting from accidents involving ladders and stairways. The risk increases when a ladder is faulty, has structural damage or slippery rungs, or is not secured properly. Supervisors must provide protection equipment essential to reducing the risk of a ladder or stairway accident.
Improper Use of Cranes
Cranes must be properly inspected to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Those who operate this type of equipment must drive at safe speeds and be aware of everything that is going on around them. A strike by a swing radius or a fallen load can result in a construction worker suffering serious injury or even death.
Inadequate Fall Protection
Whether from scaffolding or other surfaces that are elevated, measures must be put in place to protect construction workers. Considering the lack of safety equipment on construction sites and the risks to workers, supervisors must:
- Make hard hats and other personal protective equipment available
- Ensure surfaces are structurally sound
- Ensure safety nets and guardrails are put in place
Trenches are often poorly constructed or unprotected, putting construction workers at risk of falling into them and suffering injuries. Walls that are not secured, a lack of barriers to surround the trench, and improper sloping are some of the conditions that make trenches unsafe.
Defective Tools and Equipment
Manufacturers are responsible for producing tools and equipment used on construction sites that are safe and free from defects. Some of the most common tools and equipment known to cause catastrophic injuries or death include:
- Nail guns
- Pallet jacks
- Skid-steer loaders
According to the National Safety Council there were more than 8,100 injuries and 79 work-related deaths in 2019 related to the use of forklifts alone. Those who have suffered a personal injury due to the lack of safety equipment on construction sites may want to consider visiting with The Mark Casto Law Firm.
Construction Site Injuries and Product Liability
Construction workers may have legal grounds for filing a lawsuit against manufacturers, designers, or distributors of equipment that is defective or unsafe. Three claims in which personal injury lawsuits are often filed include:
When a tool or piece of equipment is defective, the plaintiff (usually the injured party) must demonstrate there was an issue in the manufacture or assembly of the tool or equipment that caused it to be unsafe.
In this type of claim the plaintiff must demonstrate that something in the tool or equipment’s design made it innately unsafe prior to it being constructed or manufactured.
Sometimes the tools, machinery, or equipment used on construction sites include safety warnings that are inadequate, inefficient instructions, or other improper labeling. In this situation the plaintiff must demonstrate a defect in the way the tool or equipment was marketed.
Importance of Safety Equipment on Construction Sites
The lack of safety equipment on construction sites can unfortunately result in severe injuries, death, or permanent disability. Supervisors must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for construction workers to enhance their safety while performing their jobs – and workers must wear the PPE provided to them. The types of personal protective and safety equipment that construction workers should use include:
- Hard hats that are properly sized and protect from falling or flying objects and impacts to the head
- Safety goggles and full-face shields are essential when performing wood or metal work, welding, and air tool operations – flying debris is also a concern
- Respirators protect workers from toxic substances, fumes, dust, paint spray, and other substances that could affect the respiratory system
- Earplugs and earmuffs protect from hearing loss when workers are frequently exposed to loud noises such as jack hammers, hammer drills, and chop/chain saws
- Gloves used on construction sites include cut-resistant, rubber, heat-resistant, and chainsaw gloves which protect hands not only from injuries, but contact dermatitis and other skin issues
While primary contractors are responsible for the safety of workers on a construction site, subcontractors who are on site are responsible as well for making certain workers comply with safety regulations. Unfortunately, safety sometimes becomes an afterthought in the rush to get things done, which results in injuries or even worse.
Consider Scheduling a Consultation with The Mark Casto Law Firm
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in, whether building homes or commercial and industrial buildings. In 2019, 20% of all work-related fatalities were those among workers in the construction industry, which accounted for 1,061 human lives. This means that on average, 88 construction workers died each month from injuries related to performing their jobs. It is likely that the lack of safety equipment on construction sites contributed to some of these deaths. Those who have suffered injuries or who have lost a loved one who worked in construction may want to consider visiting with The Mark Casto Law Firm at 706-450-7071.