The hazardous nature of the construction industry should be well known to employees and employers alike in Missouri. OSHA has stated that in 2016, there were over 1,000 construction-related deaths; moreover, about 60 percent of those deaths could have been prevented with the right training and equipment. The following are the top five hazards that construction workers face and how they can be mitigated.
Falls account for a third of all construction deaths. Workers can fall off unstable surfaces, fall through holes or injure themselves on unsafe ladders and scaffolding. Employers should first ensure that workers have the right personal protective gear and that the site has guardrails and other necessary fall protection equipment.
Next, the employer should have clear routes for forklifts and other vehicles so that they can avoid struck-by incidents: the second hazard. Workers should be trained not to position themselves between moving and stationary objects. The third hazard is electricity. For safety, employers should provide ground-fault circuit interrupters as well as portable tools that are grounded or double insulated.
The fourth leading cause of construction deaths is the caught-in-between incident. Safety measures and trench wall support should be implemented for trenches five feet or deeper; otherwise, they can collapse. Lastly, employers should ensure that hazardous materials are on material safety data sheets, or they will risk chemical exposure, spills and burns.
If workplace injuries still arise despite the employer's best efforts, victims have the option to file for workers' compensation benefits. This will waive their right to sue their employer for the same incident. Claims can still be denied, so victims are may benefit from retaining legal counsel before filing. A lawyer might discuss whether or not victims should consider a lump-sum settlement instead. The lawyer may also decide hire professionals to show that the reported injuries are in fact work-related.