The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) helps make sense of workplace safety. The organization requires that employers report injuries and fatalities on the job. OSHA then uses that information to analyze workplace risks and help improve best practices for different industries.
OSHA has identified 10 issues as being the most common standard violations. As of 2021, five of those most commonly-cited violations all take place specifically within the construction industry. How did those common violations endanger construction workers?
Inadequate eye and face protection
The eighth most common cause of injuries and fatalities on the job in the United States in 2021 was the failure of construction companies to insist upon the use of face and eye protection at the work site.
Workers without face and eye protection could temporarily or permanently lose their vision or suffer disfiguring wounds that could affect their quality of life permanently.
Inadequate fall protection training
Construction companies typically need to provide safety gear and education for their workers. Frequently, companies try to cut corners to keep their costs low and to get new staff out to the job site as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, failing to properly train their workers about how to prevent falls is the sixth most common safety violation reported in 2021.
In some states, like New York, building owners or the companies that they contract have direct responsibility for erecting and properly maintaining scaffolding during construction projects.
Scaffolding protects workers by creating a safe way to reach elevated spaces. It also protects traffic and pedestrians below from falling objects. Unfortunately, scaffolding issues and construction constituted the fifth most commonly cited safety violation last year.
Ladders and fall protection
Ladders can help workers get up higher, but they create many opportunities for falls and injuries. Improper ladder usage, improper training and poorly maintained ladders all contributed to ladders in construction being the third most common safety issue overall. Fall protection in construction was the top-cited most common safety infraction, which is a concern because falls remain a leading cause of death in the construction industry.
Workers hurt on the job typically have the right to workers’ compensation benefits. They may also sometimes have the right to take legal action if their employer violated the law. Understanding the biggest risks at a construction site can help you decide what kind of compensation to pursue after a construction injury.