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Construction Safety Dangers

Common Safety Issues on Construction Sites

Construction work is inherently dangerous. From heights to power tools to heavy machinery, workers face a number of hazards every day as part of their jobs. However, there is a big difference between dangerous work and a dangerous workplace. Many construction accidents would have been preventable had the owner or management followed proper procedure.

Dreyer Boyajian LLP has been serving clients in construction accident claims for over 30 years. To mark this year’s Construction Safety Week, we urge workers to be aware of the following dangers on the job site.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, please call (518) 463-7784 today for a free consultation. Dreyer Boyajian LLP serves injured construction workers in Albany, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Troy, and throughout the Capital District.

Falls from Heights

Whether you are working on a home or a high-rise, the risk of a fall is present in most construction work. According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of construction worker death. They can also result in severe injuries, even when the height is as little as 6 feet.

You can reduce your risk of falls by:

  • Never climbing ladders with tools and other objects in your hands
  • Always using tethers and safety harnesses
  • Communicating with coworkers when working on scaffolds
  • Watching out for slipping and tripping hazards
  • Making sure ladders are secured and abiding by the safety instructions when using them

In New York, the scaffold law requires construction site owners and their contractors to provide proper safety equipment for workers doing jobs at heights. If they failed in this duty, you may be entitled to damages beyond workers’ compensation.

Falling Objects

Workers at heights aren’t the only ones in danger. People on the ground can sustain brain and spinal cord injury and other serious trauma if a tool, piece of material, or other object falls on them.

It is crucial for workers at heights to secure all equipment so they don’t drop or knock something over the edge. An object that falls tens or hundreds of feet presents a major risk of injury or fatality to anyone on the ground.

Electrocution

The risk of electrocution on a construction site comes from many different sources. These include:

  • Exposed electrical wires
  • Defective or malfunctioning power tools
  • Worn or damaged extension cords
  • Contact with overhead or underground power lines
  • Spilled water and other liquids
  • Improper installation of electrical outlets and ground-fault equipment

Workers who are electrocuted on a job site may suffer severe burns and internal injuries. They are also at risk of physical trauma if they were thrown backward by the shock.

Moving Equipment

Caught-in and caught-between accidents are another leading cause of serious injury and death on construction sites. Workers can become caught in active power tools and heavy machinery, potentially suffering bone fractures, loss of limbs or digits, and strangulation. Caught-between accidents can result in serious crush injuries.

Collapses

Another leading source of crush injuries and fatalities in construction work is collapse of excavation trenches, unsupported walls, and other sections of the job site. These cave-ins can leave workers trapped beneath thousands of pounds of earth and/or material, creating a race against time for workers and emergency crews to get them out safely.

New York Labor Law 241 establishes precautions that owners and contractors must take to ensure the safety of workers engaged in construction, excavation, and demolition activities.

Hazardous Materials

Potentially dangerous substances are a fixture at construction sites. From the dust released by work on building materials to toxins used in the manufacturing of common construction products, workers may be exposed to hazards such as:

  • Silica dust
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Acetone, benzene, and other solvents
  • PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • Asbestos
  • CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons)
  • Diesel fuel fumes
  • Radiation
  • Toxic mold

The key to avoiding the negative effects of dangerous materials is to use the right protective equipment. However, if your employer didn’t provide this equipment, you should contact a construction accident attorney to discuss your legal options.

Lockout/Tagout Errors

All construction sites should have procedures in place for taking a machine or vehicle out of service. Generally, this involves disconnecting the power supply, removing the key, and placing a tag notifying other workers not to use the equipment in question.

Failure to train workers on lockout and tagout procedures puts those working on machines at risk of serious injury and death.

Fires & Explosions

Construction site fires may occur due to:

  • Sparks from welding and other activities
  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Fuel geysering
  • Cooking on the job site
  • Carelessly discarded cigarettes

A small fire can become a raging inferno or an explosion if the flames mix with fuel and other combustible materials. Multiple workers may suffer burns, smoke inhalation, and other injuries in these disasters.

Vehicle Accidents

Many of the vehicles used in construction are unique. They require specialized training to operate safely and dedicated maintenance to handle the heavy demands of construction work.

Errors in the operation or maintenance of vehicles like the following can result in serious injury or death of workers on a job site:

  • Dump trucks
  • Bulldozers
  • Excavators
  • Backhoes
  • Loaders
  • Graders
  • Trenchers
  • Cranes

If your injury on the job site occurred due to a defective machine or vehicle, you may be able to pursue compensation from the manufacturer via a product liability claim.

Repetitive Strain

Construction workers often spend hours each day using handheld power tools and heavy equipment. The repetitive motion and the vibration of these machines can damage muscles, bones, joints, nerves, and even blood vessels over time.

Injuries caused by repetitive stress can significantly impact your ability to work and make a living.

Contact Our Construction Accident Lawyers Today

Dreyer Boyajian LLP is among the most experienced construction accident law firms in the Capital District. Our lawyers have achieved millions of dollars on behalf of construction workers who have been injured on the job. We understand the complexities of New York construction law, and we look beyond workers’ comp to explore all avenues of recovery in your claim.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident, please contact Dreyer Boyajian LLP at (518) 463-7784 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers serve clients in Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, and other areas of New York.

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