OSHA Violations Put Construction Workers at Risk

Since you married into a construction family, you knew that there would be times that your husband would come home with a few scrapes and bruises. However, within the past year, your father-in-law, your brother-in-law, and numerous cousins have not only been injured at work, some of them were hospitalized for several days. Although your husband told you not to worry, you couldn’t help but be concerned. The day you got the call that he had been rushed to the hospital after falling 20 feet—head first onto a scaffold rail—you completely lost it.

After rushing to the emergency room and discovering that he was in an induced coma to prevent his brain from swelling, you immediately called his supervisor—demanding to know what went wrong. The supervisor attempted to brush you off, saying that although he was sorry for the incident, your husband simply took a wrong step and tripped over his own equipment. The foreman assured you that there would be an investigation, but until then, there was nothing else to be done.

Nothing else could be done?! Not if you had anything to say about it. Your next call was to the Region 6 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offices to recommend a safety inspection of the construction site.

Nothing else? You are sure the OSHA will see things differently. Won’t they? Are construction accidents common enough to get their attention?  

Common Construction Catastrophes

Working in construction is an extremely dangerous profession. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), the construction industry has the highest fatal injury rate than any other industry in the U.S. Approximately three-million workers are injured annually and more than 400 workers are killed in workplace accidents.

As a result of this alarming statistic, the DOL has instructed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to take construction industry regulations extremely seriously. Therefore, over the course of the last five years, OSHA has been conducting a nationwide investigation into construction safety and how companies treat and protect their workers. Unfortunately, these investigations uncovered several violations within the industry as a whole.

Some of these more common violations include:

  • Inadequate fall protection equipment – Harnesses, straps, etc.
  • Improper protection from falling objects and debris – Braces, overhead barriers, hard hats, etc.
  • Faulty scaffolding prone to collapse – Missing reinforced joints, stable bases, adequate bracings, etc.
  • Absence of ladders in good working conditions.
  • Lack of head and body protection gear – Hard hats, leather overalls, gloves, etc.
  • Hazardous communication – Faulty walkie-talkies, inadequate training, and lack of hazard plans.
  • Improper general safety and health provisions – First aid kits, working fire extinguishers, etc.
  • Absence of electrical protection – Training, gloves, rubber-coated tools, etc.
  • Lack of proper equipment safety – Training, maintenance, additional manpower to help control situations, etc.
  • Chemical safety inefficiencies – Training, adequate disposal, proper gear, etc.

Rebuilding Your Future After a Construction Accident

Considering that construction work is inherently dangerous and that injuries are common even among the veteran workers, it is important to not only be aware of your risks, but to also know what to do if and when you’re injured. Remember, it’s your future, let us help you rebuild for a better one. Call today for a free consultation.