Construction is an inherently dangerous job. There are many risk factors arising from both the nature of the work and the tools of the trade. For those who work in construction or love someone who does, it can be frightening to say goodbye before a work day begins. People get hurt every day, and sometimes job-related injuries can be fatal.
Thankfully, there are protections in place to reduce the risk experienced by construction workers on the job. New Jersey requires certain safety regulations, as does the Occupational Healthy and Safety Administration (OSHA). When employers violate those regulations, workers can end up hurt in otherwise preventable accidents. Educating yourself about the biggest risks on the job site can help you stay safer while working.
OSHA identified the four biggest risks to construction workers
Knowing the risk factors most likely to contribute to a fatal accident can help companies and employees reduce worksite injuries and deaths. To help facilitate a safer workplace, OSHA analyzes data related to reported workplace accidents. They have identified four risk factors that represent the biggest risks to construction workers.
Those risks, called the Fatal Four, include:
- struck-by accidents
- caught-in-between accidents
These four common accidents account for the vast majority of fatalities at construction sites. Employers should do their best to provide workers with adequate safety equipment and training. They should also conform to best practices in the industry and do everything else in their power to protect their workers.
Companies must take care to reduce the risk to workers
There are special steps you can take to reduce the risk of all of these kinds of accidents. Using harnesses and taking great care when working at any height are always good ways to reduce the risk of falls. Remaining very alert around areas where supplies are in motion or workers are using machinery can reduce struck-by accidents. Similar precautions and attention to the environment can reduce your risk of a caught-in or caught-between accident.
Company policies should always prioritize worker safety over construction speed or budget concerns. A human life is priceless. There is no way to put an accurate value on it. When companies value their own profits over the safety of workers, the result can be tragic.
Workers who get hurt generally have the protection of workers' compensation available to them. Surviving family members of workers who die may also benefit from workers' compensation claims. In situations where an employer's safety practices (or lack thereof) resulted in a severe injury or death, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may also be a viable option.
When a company values its bottom line more than its workers, the only way to motivate them to change their priorities is to impact their bottom line. A successful lawsuit can result in a company changing its practices to avoid a loss like that in the future.