The number of U.S. construction deaths reached 1,000 in 2016, according to OSHA. Even more tragic is the fact that over 60 percent of these deaths could have been prevented with the right training and equipment. The following are just five of the most common construction site accidents that could occur in North Carolina or anywhere else.
Falls are at the top of the list, consistently accounting for about one-third of construction deaths every year. Workers could fall from uneven or slippery surfaces, surfaces lacking the appropriate guards or ladders and scaffolding improperly set up. Employers need to remember the 6-foot rule: always provide employees with fall protection equipment when they work 6 feet above another surface.
Struck-by accidents are second, so employers should have clear vehicle routes and ensure that crane and forklift operators are trained on safe practices. Employees should know not to position themselves between fixed and moving objects. The third most common risk is electrocution, which often arises through a failure to locate overhead power lines and the ignorance of minimum safe distance requirements.
Fourth are caught-in-between accidents, particularly trench collapses. Trenches 5 feet or deeper require trench wall support and should be inspected by competent employees. The last type of common accident relates to exposure to hazardous materials. This could lead to everything from burns to the development of respiratory conditions. Employees should have material safety data sheets for all hazardous materials.
If an employee suffers a construction site injury, they can be covered for medical bills and a part of their lost wages. All they have to do is file a workers' compensation claim. They could receive regular payments or opt for a "clincher" or settlement agreement that arrives in one lump sum. A lawyer could provide advice and help with an appeal if necessary.