Each year, millions of workers are injured on the job. Also, members of the public can be injured when they pass construction sites or other job sites. To prevent injuries and raise awareness, we offer this article, which provides concrete steps you can take to improve safety.
Falling is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, falls account for around 25% of all workplace injuries. Workers can be injured when they fall on the same level or fall to a lower level.
To prevent falls, workers should wear shoes or boots with excellent tread. They should also use an appropriate scaffold or ladder and receive training on their proper use. When working high off the ground, a personal fall arrest system can limit any injury if you fall.
Passerby can be injured from falling workers as well, who might land on unsuspecting pedestrians. The best protection is to be aware of your surroundings whenever you pass dangerous construction sites.
Working too hard is the leading cause of workplace injuries. Overexertion can include doing any of the following to excess:
Overexertion can lead to soft-tissue injuries like sprains, strains and pulled muscles. It can also lead to repetitive stress injuries that impact nerves and leave workers in chronic pain or immobile.
To protect against overexertion, you should take all breaks allowed to you under the law. Also get in the habit of massaging sore muscles during your breaks and giving them extra attention at night. If you suffer an injury at work, you should immediately notify your supervisor. Nevada has workers’ compensation, which pays benefits to employees injured on the job.
Also check if there are safer methods of performing certain tasks. If you suffer repetitive stress injuries while typing, then ask for an ergonomic keyboard as well as chair. If you lift heavy objects, make sure you know how to lift properly, e.g., with your knees and not by bending over.
Workers, particularly in construction, can be electrocuted when they come in contact with a live wire. Around 70-80 construction workers die each year from electrocution, so it is a serious concern. Sometimes faulty electrical installation is to blame. In other cases, a worker can suffer electrocution because of dangerous power tools or because a crane contacts an overhead line.
To protect themselves, workers should remember the following:
- Inspect all portable tools before using them. If you see something wrong, then don’t use the tool.
- Disconnect tools when finished with them.
- Use appropriate gloves and other safety equipment.
- Keep a safe distance away from overhead power lines. If the line carries up to 50 volts of power, then maintain at least 10 feet. If the line carries more volts of power, then increase your distance.
- Use nonconductive ladders.
- Inspect extension cords for abrasions or cuts. Damaged insulation inside the cord can expose live wires, which can lead to electrocution.
- Install ground-fault circuit interrupters, which can interrupt the flow of electric current by detecting ground faults. These circuit interrupters will limit the length of any electrical shock.
If you are electrocuted, you should immediately get to the emergency room. Electrical burns are often more dangerous than other burns because they are inside the body and affect organs. Only a doctor will be able to analyze the full extent of any injury.
Minimize Contact with Toxic Chemicals
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration strictly regulates chemicals and toxins in the workplace. These chemicals can not only poison workers but can also become flammable or explosive.
OSHA guidelines require that employers properly label hazardous substances so that workers can identify them and understand their dangers. Employers must also train employees on how to handle hazardous substances safely. If they do not, then they have broken the law.
Some hazardous substances are airborne, and OSHA enforced permissible limits that are meant to protect workers. Employers probably need to supply adequate safety equipment so that workers are not exposed to dangerous levels of hazardous chemicals.
Dangerous Worksite FAQs
What should you do if you believe your employer has not protected you adequately from hazardous materials?
First, you should raise the issue with your employer. For example, they might need to provide masks or other respirators to workers. They might also handle the issue by increasing the ventilation of the work area to disperse any hazardous substances.
You can also lodge a safety complaint with OSHA or with the Nevada Department of Industrial Relations. These agencies might investigate and fine your employer. It is vital to protect other workers that you raise your voice.
Can I Receive Compensation in a Workplace Accident?
If you are an employee, then chances are you cannot sue if your employer is to blame. Instead, if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you will receive benefits from the insurer. Workers’ comp typically pays for all reasonably necessary medical care, as well as a portion of lost wages if you are temporarily or permanently disabled.
One downside of the workers’ compensation system is that you cannot sue your employer. However, one benefit is that you do not have to show that your employer is “at fault.” Instead, it is enough that you are injured on the job, so you will receive benefits.
There are situations where you can sue. A third party might be responsible for your injuries, not your employer. If a power tool was defective, for example, then you could probably sue the manufacturer.
If I am a Passerby and Injured, Can I Sue?
Yes. Non-employees are not limited by the workers’ compensation system. They can sue any party or individual responsible for injuring them. This could be the construction site owner, the general contractor, or even an individual employee. Consult with an attorney for more information.
The dangerous construction & worksite accident lawyers at Ladah Law Firm have helped many injured victims and offer a free consultation to the injured. If you’ve been injured, don’t delay contacting an attorney.