OSHA has stated that there were 1,000 construction deaths in 2016. Moreover, 60 percent of the deaths were preventable. Construction workers in Texas should be familiar with the five leading causes of death in the construction industry: they are falls, struck-by incidents, electrical accidents, caught-in-between incidents and exposure to hazardous materials.
Falls account for a third of all construction deaths. Such deaths could occur because of unstable work surfaces, a lack of fall prevention equipment like guardrails and safety nets or a lack of personal protective equipment like hard hats and non-slip work boots. Ladders and scaffolding that do not comply with safety standards will also increase the risk.
A tenth of construction deaths are due to workers being struck by forklifts, cranes and other vehicles. Employers should have clear vehicle routes and tell employers not to stand between fixed and moving objects. Electrical safety can be maintained if employees identify utilities beforehand, locate overhead power lines and remember what the minimum safe distance requirements are. Ground-fault circuit interrupters can help prevent accidents.
Collapsing trenches are behind most caught-in-between accidents. Trenches that are five feet or deeper should have proper safety measures and trench wall support. Qualified personnel could also inspect the trench beforehand. As for hazardous materials, these should be listed on material safety data sheets. Employees should be given adequate respiratory protection.
Many construction workers’ accidents, regardless of who was at fault, could be covered under the workers’ compensation program. Victims may benefit from seeing a lawyer, though, because they will need to prove that the reported injuries are accident-related and that the accident was work-related. After that, they have to take into account the possibility of having their claim denied. A lawyer might hire third-party professionals to gather the necessary proof and could assist with the appeal process.