Friday, October 15, 2010

Top Four Construction Injury Hazards

According to OSHA, the top four causes of construction fatalities are 1) falls, 2) being struck by objects, 3) being caught in confined spaces or between objects, and 4) electrocutions.

Here are some simple tips to avoid these hazards: 

Preventing Injuries from Falls
  • Employees should wear and use personal fall arrest equipment.
  • Employers should ensure that perimeter protection is installed and maintained.
  • Floor openings should be covered, secured, and labeled.
  • Employee should use ladders and scaffolds safely.
Preventing Injuries from Being Struck by an Object
  • An employee should avoid positioning him or herself between moving and fixed objects.
  • Employees should wear high-visibility clothing near equipment and vehicles.
Preventing Injuries from Being Caught In Confined Spaces or Between Objects
  • Employee should not enter an unprotected trench or excavation five feet or deeper without an adequate protective system.
  • Employers should make sure trenches or excavations are protected either by sloping, shoring, benching or trench shield systems.
Preventing Injuries from Electrocutions
  • Employees and employers should locate and identify utilities before starting work.
  • Employees should look for overhead power lines when operating any equipment.
  • Employees should maintain a safe distance away from power lines and learn the safe distance requirements.
  • Employees should not operate portable electric tools unless they are grounded or double insulated.
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupters should be used for protection.
  • Employees should be alert to electrical hazards when working with ladders, scaffolds or other platforms.
When a construction worker is injured on a job site, it often raises unique issues under the Minnesota workers’ compensation law. For example, there may be a dispute as to whether the worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation in Minnesota, but employees are covered. Another rule unique to the construction industry is that if an employee is injured, and the subcontractor-employer is uninsured for workers’ compensation, the general contractor may be liable for workers’ compensation benefits. A third issue that frequently arises when a construction worker sustains injury is determining whether there is a liability claim against a negligent third party, in addition to a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

If you’ve sustained a work-related construction injury, you should speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer to learn how to protect your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights, and to explore any potential rights you have to make a third-party liability claim to compensate you for your injuries. For a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our workers' compensation lawyers, contact Meuser & Associates at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.

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