OSHA collaboration to increase construction site safety in Pennsylvania

 In Personal Injury, Workers Compensation
If you have walked or driven by a construction site in Allegheny County recently, you may have noticed barricades and caution signs warning people of the dangers that lie within the site. The engineers and workers that work beyond the blockades, however, are in danger of becoming another construction site fatality statistic. Although they receive extensive training in worksite safety procedures, many construction workers are killed as a result of negligence or a workplace accident that may have otherwise been prevented.

The most recently released information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 4,000 workers were killed nationwide at their job in 2011. Nearly 200 of those took place in Pennsylvania. The majority of fatalities stemmed from transportation incidents, while slip and fall accidents and contact with equipment or objects finalized the top three causes of fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an essential contributor to setting the standard in safety practices in the workplace.

Construction dangers

Construction sites encompass a wide range of projects, including bridge erection, demolitions, large scale painting, excavations, roadway paving and residential construction. All of them pose a significant threat to those working on-site. Although each construction site has its own unique set of obstacles and dangers to be on the lookout for, there are general safety issues that are similar among most sites. The following issues received the most OSHA issued citations:

  • Fall protection
  • Scaffolding
  • Ladders
  • Excavations
  • Electrical
  • Head protection
  • Hazard communication

The most common hazards for construction site workers include:

  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Electric shock
  • Scaffold collapse
  • Trench collapse
  • Falls
  • Failure to use proper safety equipment

All of these areas are being addressed by OSHA. There is a wealth of literature available to those who need to train their construction workers on the proper safety protocol.

OSHA enforcement of standard safety regulations

The OSH Act puts employers directly responsible for workplace safety conditions. In order to assist in making sure each workplace is safe and healthful for each employee, OSHA has organized various training, education and outreach programs.

OSHA will also conduct spontaneous on-site or phone investigations to ensure the employer is meeting their obligations in adhering to safety policies. During an inspection, the evaluator will look for potential catastrophes, workers complaints, injury rates, and make sure that employees are not in any imminent danger.

Case in point

Currently, OSHA is investigating the collapse of a parking garage that was under construction in Doral, Florida. A large area of the garage that was under construction suddenly gave way, injuring three workers and killing four. Many other cases similar to this one are under active investigation as experts dig to find what caused this massive collapse of over 3,300 tons of concrete.

In another case, a young bricklayer was working from scaffolding, which was incorrectly positioned between some active power lines. The plastic insulation slipped from the wires and had made contact with the swinging bucket filled with mortar. When the bricklayer grabbed the bucket, he was electrocuted instantly and fell to the ground. This is an example of yet another tragedy that could have been prevented by proper scaffolding construction.

As OSHA continues to lend assistance and set the regulatory standards for workplace safety, they are collaborating with employers to decrease the number of workplace fatalities.

Contact a professional attorney today to find out more information on how you can receive compensation for your work related injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages from work, as well as pain and suffering.

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