Summer Workplace Hazards in Construction

We are already well into summer, and some areas of the country have experienced record-breaking temperatures. In fact, the planet saw its hottest day on record in early July, with daily highs in Tucson reading 110 degrees and Tampa at 97 degrees. These are extreme temperatures, which can make outdoor activities like construction work even more hazardous.

Every year, construction workers become ill at their workplaces, and some even lose their lives due to extreme heat exposure. While an employer may have a job to do, worker safety is also a critical consideration. Here are some of the top summer workplace hazards in construction and how to address them.

1. Extreme Fatigue

Because many construction jobs require workers to perform manual labor, this can lead to extreme fatigue in the summer months. One of the biggest concerns with fatigue is that it can impair judgment and lead to other serious injuries.

Similar to drowsy driving, a fatigued worker will have slow reaction times, poor judgment, and impaired physical functioning. This can put the worker and others at risk.

To prevent these problems, workers are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and eat salty snacks to replenish lost sodium. They should avoid direct sunlight as much as possible and wear sun protection.

2. Dehydration

Dehydration happens when your body loses more water than it is taking in, resulting in you not having any reserves necessary for normal bodily functions. As you can imagine, this is dangerous. If not treated properly, dehydration can lead to death.

Construction workers can get busy on the job and forget to drink enough water. When it’s hot out, sweat also contributes to dehydration. Some of the symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Little or no urination

To prevent dehydration, it’s important to take frequent hydration breaks at work. Some workers can have a hard time drinking water because it’s tasteless. Electrolyte beverages like Gatorade or Powerade can encourage regular consumption of fluids. But soda and coffee are not sufficient substitutes.

Employers should also educate workers on proper hydration outside of work to continue boosting electrolytes. And if there are any signs of dehydration, immediate assistance is necessary.

3. Heat Stroke

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that up to 70% of workplace fatalities occur while working in hot or warm environments. OSHA warms that heat-related illnesses are “medical emergencies.”

When a worker experiences heat stroke, their body is unable to cool down on its own. The body can reach temperatures as high as 106 degrees, which can be fatal.

One common sign of heat stroke is cramps, where the loss of water causes the muscles to painfully contract. If a worker is suffering from heat cramps, they should stop work immediately, rest in a shaded and cool place, and not resume activities until they feel better. Other common signs of heat stroke include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • High body temperature

OSHA recommends only allowing new construction workers to perform their duties at full intensity for about 20% of the workday in the heat. If there is doubt about whether someone needs medical care, the best option is to call 911.

4. Sun Exposure

Too much exposure to the sun poses significant risks for construction workers. Hard hats do double duty by protecting a worker’s head from falling objects and offering sun protection. But what about the rest of your body?

The sun’s UV rays can harm your arms, legs, face, and eyes and impact the immune system. Any skin that is exposed to sunlight can be burned and even get blisters. This can also happen on cloudy days.

If possible, workers should be encouraged to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants while working. They should also wear eye protection and use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15.

5. Road Work Zones

According to NIOSH, nearly 20,000 workers are injured and 100 killed in work zones each year. In colder climates, road work accelerates in the summer months because it isn’t possible to do so during other parts of the year. For workers, however, this can be a dangerous situation.

Bright safety vests are critical. They provide visibility that can prevent collisions with heavy equipment. Workers must also be trained to identify work areas and use barriers to keep traffic out of work zones. Workers should also be educated bout additional traffic-related hazards.

What If You’ve Been Injured on a Construction Site?

If you’ve suffered a workplace injury on a construction site this summer, it’s important to understand that your employer has an obligation to provide a safe workplace that protects you from harm. Appropriate training and safeguards are vital parts of workplace preparedness. To learn more about protecting and asserting your rights, contact OSHA Injury Attorney directly.


Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths from Backing Construction Vehicles and Equipment at Roadway Construction Worksites

Construction workers face numerous hazards on the job site. From the risk of falling objects to accidents involving heavy equipment and machinery, being a construction worker is one of the most dangerous jobs there is. While some accidents happen even when safety protocols are followed, most accidents and injuries are entirely preventable.

One type of accident that can be avoided when safety protocols are followed, and preventative measures are adopted is backup/backover accidents. Here’s what you need to know about the risk of reversing construction vehicles, how backover injuries happen and how they can be avoided, and what to do if you’re a worker who’s injured in a backover accident.

What Is a Backover Injury?

A backover injury occurs when a vehicle that is operating in reverse strikes a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling behind the vehicle, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these preventable accidents kill and injure dozens of workers each year.

How Backover Injuries Happen

There are numerous reasons that backover accidents happen, all of which are preventable. Some of the top causes of backover accidents include:

  • Blind spots. One of the most common causes of backover injuries is a worker being in a reversing driver’s blind spot. It’s always important for drivers to double-check blind spots and for workers to pay attention to vehicles.
  • Excessive noise. While vehicles are equipped with alarms that sound when they are operating in reverse, loud noises on a construction site may make it difficult for workers to hear these warnings.
  • Fall injuries. While less common, a worker may be injured by a reversing vehicle if they fall off the vehicle while it’s in motion. It’s important that workers are always properly secured within vehicles.
  • Failure to look. Some accidents occur simply because of the negligence of vehicle operators or workers on the ground. Failure to pay attention to surroundings, particularly any workers that may be in the pathway of a vehicle—reversing or otherwise—can be deadly.

Of course, the above are not the only causes of backover injuries. A combination of other factors can also lead to backover accidents, including things like driver negligence.

How to Prevent Backover Injuries & Deaths

OSHA recommends multiple actions that can be employed in the workplace to reduce the risk of backover injuries and deaths. These solutions include, but are not limited to:

  • Using a spotter to help when backing up vehicles
  • Using video cameras with in-vehicle display monitors
  • Installing proximity detection devices on vehicles
  • Installing tag-based systems that alert both drivers and employees on the ground when they come in close proximity to one another (i.e. when the on-the-ground employee comes near the vehicle)
  • Creating internal traffic control plans
  • Investing resources into employee training around traffic and vehicle safety
  • Conducting regular vehicle inspections to ensure that brake lights, reverse alarms, horns, and cameras are all working correctly.

What to Do If You’re Involved in a Backup Accident

If you are involved in a backup accident on the job, it’s important to understand your rights and know what actions you need to take next. Importantly, you should seek medical care immediately. If you require emergency care, go to the emergency room or call an ambulance—emergency care does not need to be approved by your workers’ compensation insurer first. If you require non-emergent care, be sure you seek care from a provider who’s approved by your workers’ compensation provider.

You also need to provide notice of the accident and injury to your employer as soon as possible. Your employer will be responsible for reporting the accident to your insurer. Note that you have the right to negotiate your workers’ compensation claim. In most cases, you will not have the right to sue your employer, even if the accident occurred due to employer negligence. If you need help navigating your workers’ compensation claim or understanding your rights, it is a good idea to meet with an OSHA Injury attorney.

Engage in Safe Practices at Work

As a construction worker, you face a number of risks every day you show up to work. You can reduce your risk of being involved in a backup accident by paying attention to your surroundings, communicating with vehicle operators, and understanding safety tips for preventing backover injuries and deaths. In the event that you are in a workplace backover accident, protect yourself by getting medical care, reporting your accident immediately, and seeking legal counsel.


Why a Workplace Safety Program Needs Incident Reporting 

Most types of businesses that work in the construction industry, manufacturing industry, or another industry with a high risk of accident rely on workplace safety programs to keep everyone safe. As part of a robust workplace safety program, program managers should encourage consistent, detailed incident reporting and analysis. If you have questions about incident reporting as part of a workplace safety program, the team at OSHA Injury Attorney can help to answer questions and provide feedback. In the meantime, here’s an overview of the basics of incident reporting and why incident reporting is a crucial piece of a workplace safety program—

What Is Incident Reporting?

Incident reporting is the act of implementing a system wherein workers, managers, and others in a workspace can document any safety incidents that occur. Note that the word “incident” is used rather than accident; in the eyes of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), incidents are preventable, whereas the term “accidents” implies the occurrence of an uncontrollable, random event. 

What Types of Incidents Should Be Reported?

All workplace safety incidents should be reported, documented, and investigated with follow-up. Types of workplace incidents that should be reported include any situations where an employee or someone on a worksite is in a motor vehicle accident, becomes ill due to workplace conditions, is involved in an incident that results in property or equipment damage, is injured on the worksite, dies as a result of a workplace accident, or is involved in a “near-miss” incident that could have resulted in injury, death, or property damage. 

What Are the Benefits of Incident Reporting?

Incident reporting provides numerous benefits, and should be a focus of all workplace safety plans. Some of the top reasons to include incident reporting as part of your workplace safety program include: 

  • Opportunity to create better processes in the future.Incident reporting can bring attention to processes that may not be serving the interests of those in the workplace best, or that may be riddled with risk or inefficiencies. By analyzing incidents, there is an opportunity to adjust, create, and improve processes.
  • Awareness of issues. If incidents are not reported, management may simply remain unaware of any process issues or other concerns that are putting workers and risk or impairing production. Transparency around incidents is a key part of safety and process improvement.
  • Mitigation of more serious incidents. One of the most critical reasons to implement a workplace incident reporting program is that reporting incidents and identifying the factors that led to those incidents can help to mitigate more serious incidents from occurring in the future, including incidents that could result in severe injury or death.
  • Ability to track patterns and trends. By keeping detailed incident reports and analyzing trends in incidents over time, managers will have a better understanding of patterns and factors that contribute to incidents and where intervention or adjustment in processes may be necessary to keep everyone safe and improve protection.
  • Protection from liability. Keeping documents that thoroughly detail incidents is a key part of responsible recordkeeping; this type of recordkeeping is essential in the event that a lawsuit is brought forth. Without incident reporting, a company under scrutiny may have little to provide in its defense. In addition to reducing liability in a single incident, evidence that incident reporting has informed safety program decisions can also help to prove that a company has fulfilled its duty to mitigate risk.
  • Employee participation in workplace safety programs. By encouraging reporting of incidents, an employer also encourages employee participation in workplace safety programs, which can help to keep everyone safe.
  • Enhanced workplace safety culture. A strong workplace safety culture is something that all businesses should strive for. A strong workplace safety culture means that a workplace safety program is robust, effective, and understood and followed by all team members. Companies with strong workplace safety cultures may experience fewer incidents that jeopardize production, company reputation and liability, and worker health and safety.

Note that a strong incident reporting program not only includes a way for employees to report incidents, but also a plan for how incidents will be investigated and responded to. 

Learn More About Incident Reporting and Workplace Safety Plans Today

Employers have a big responsibility: to keep everyone in the workplace safe. In addition to maintaining a safety plan that outlines expectations, regulations, and other key safety points, safety plans should include an incident reporting strategy. At OSHA Injury Attorney, we can help answer your questions about workplace safety plans and incident reporting. To learn more about incident reporting in the workplace, please reach out to us directly online.

How to File a Construction Injury Claim

The risk of working in the construction industry is significant. Even with the many safety programs and regulations in place, injuries occur regularly, and this industry is considered one of the most dangerous for workers. If you or a loved one has been injured while working construction, knowing where to turn to file a construction injury claim could make a difference in getting the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Prevention and Safety on Construction Sites

Construction workers need to follow safety protocols to the letter to ensure their wellbeing as well as that of other employees and bystanders. But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also sets forth a long list of regulations that the employer must follow.

Some of the requirements of employers through OSHA include:

  • Provide safe equipment and tools
  • Remove any workplace hazards
  • Display and inform employees of OSHA regulations
  • Provide employees with a safety training manual
  • Establish a hazard communication program
  • Create exposure and medical records and make them available to employees
  • Provide employees access to relevant accident and injury records
  • Allow employees to request an OSHA inspection
  • Furnish employees with copies of past hazard tests

OSHA’s website provides a comprehensive resource that can answer questions about safety in the workplace. If you feel that your construction site violates OSHA standards, you can file a report online or contact the nearest OSHA office to register a complaint.

Filing a Construction Injury Claim

After a construction injury, you should seek immediate medical attention, whether your employer followed safety regulations or not. Once you get the treatment you need and have documented your injuries, it’s vital that you report the injury to your employer. Do this in writing and keep a copy for your records.

Your next step should be to speak with a knowledgeable construction injury attorney that can explain your options and protect your rights. Many injuries that take place on a construction site are covered by workers’ compensation. But you may also have the right to pursue a personal injury claim with opportunities for additional damages. Your attorney can explain these options and help you collect maximum compensation.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claim

In most states, workers’ compensation is the sole remedy for a person injured on the job. This is an insurance program required by law for most employers that provides certain benefits to workers that are injured or become ill in the course of their employment.

Workers’ compensation provides coverage for medical care, temporary disability (lost wages), permanent disability, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits. Workers’ compensation is meant to reduce employers’ costs, so it prohibits injured workers from suing their employer after an accident.

There are exceptions, however. If your injury was caused by a third party, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit allowing you to collect additional compensation such as pain and suffering. For example, defective tools or machinery can lead to an accident, as can the actions of a person or business that isn’t your employer.

Who Can Be Liable in a Construction Injury Lawsuit?

Workers’ compensation pays benefits regardless of fault. But personal injury cases are fault-based. In general, you can sue parties other than your employer in a construction injury case if they were responsible for your injury or occupational disease. Some examples of parties you might have the right to sue include:

  • Property owners– You may be able to sue a property owner if unsafe or hazardous conditions led to your injury.
  • Other contractors– If you were injured due to the negligent actions of another contractor that works for a different employer, you might have a personal injury case.
  • Manufacturers of tools and equipment– If a defective tool or piece of equipment caused your injury, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer.
  • Other drivers– If you were injured in a vehicle accident, you may be able to hold the other driver accountable for your injuries.

Even if you were partially at fault in the accident, you may have the right to pursue damages against one of these parties. But most claims are met with strong resistance by insurance companies that want to avoid paying what a case is worth. It’s important that you speak with an attorney immediately that can investigate your case, preserve evidence, and pursue a positive outcome.

Speak With an Experienced Construction Injury Attorney

After a construction site accident, it is equally vital that you understand your legal rights and take action quickly. OSHA Injury Attorney’s primary goal is to ensure construction workers have access to the information they need to stay safe in the workplace and exercise their rights when necessary.

If you or a loved one have been injured on the job or have concerns about OSHA violations, please complete our contact form below. We will forward your information to a qualified construction injury attorney that will provide the assistance you need.

Preventing Deadly Scaffolding Accidents

Employees in the construction industry often work at high heights. In order to accommodate for this, scaffolds are constructed. While scaffolds may provide access to otherwise unreachable levels, scaffold protections and safety standards aren’t always adhered to. In fact, scaffolding accidents lead to numerous injuries and dozens of deaths each year. For one year that Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) data is available, there were 61 scaffolding-related fatalities recorded, all of which could have been avoided by compliance with OSHA standards. 

When employees work on a job site, they have a duty to adhere to workplace safety standards; however, they also have a right to a safe workplace, which is often the responsibility of the employer. Preventing deadly scaffolding accidents is possible when all of those on a job site, including employers, do their part. Consider the following tips for preventing deadly scaffolding accidents, and call our lawyers directly if you have more questions about your rights or how to stay safe–

Preventing Scaffolding Accidents

When safety regulations are followed, workers are properly trained, and equipment is effective and properly used, it is possible to prevent scaffolding accidents that could lead to devastating injuries. Tips for preventing scaffolding accidents include:

  • Ensure that all workers on a job site are properly trained. When it comes to preventing deadly scaffolding accidents, ensuring that all workers on a job site are properly trained is a critical starting point. Workers should be trained on all aspects of working on and around scaffolding, including:
  • Fall protection standards;
  • Equipment standards and best practices;
  • Scaffold defects and how to identify them;
  • Common scaffold-related hazards and risks;
  • How to work safely on scaffolds; and
  • How much a scaffold can bear in terms of load capacity/weight.

In addition to the above, it’s also important that workers are trained regarding to whom they should report safety violations and what to do if they notice an unsafe situation. 

  • Implement all safety regulations. All safety regulations that are established by OSHA should be properly implemented These include, but are not limited to, regulations pertaining to accessing different levels of scaffolding, the use of fall prevention tactics and harnesses, secure attachment of scaffolds to buildings, keeping scaffolds a safe distance from power lines, inspecting scaffolds and other equipment before each shift, ensuring that scaffolds have proper guardrails, ensuring that each scaffold and landing is equipped with non-slip tread to prevent slip and falls, using safety netting to protect other workers from falling objects, and more. If you have more questions about all of the safety regulations related to scaffolding, talk to an OSHA attorney who can help you to find answers. 
  • Use basic safety precautions and common sense. In addition to making sure that OSHA rules and regulations are followed, it’s also important to use basic safety precautions and common sense when working on or around scaffolding. For example, working in wet conditions can create slip and fall hazards, and should be avoided. Additionally, it is important that workers always keep their hard hats and other safety gear on at all times, always use caution when climbing ladders to different scaffolding levels, and never engage in running or horseplay on scaffolds. Generally staying alert and aware of one’s surroundings, inspecting a site before beginning work, and working at a safe pace is key, too. Of course, any safety violations that are noticed should immediately be reported. It is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting an unsafe condition in the workplace. 

Know Your Rights if You’re Injured at Work

When an unsafe condition exists and workers are injured as a direct result, it’s important to know what the process is for recovering compensation. Through the workers’ compensation system, a worker who is injured on the job has the right to file a claim for benefits, including medical benefits and some lost wage benefits. In cases where a third party was to blame for the accident, a third-party liability claim can also yield compensation for non-economic benefits. 

Call OSHA Injury Attorney for Help 

If you are injured at work or have concerns about the safety of your workplace, you are not alone. If you have been injured as a result of a scaffolding accident you should contact an OSHA Injury Attorney immediately so they can provide you with advice about what your legal rights are, and represent you if you decide to pursue damages. To learn more about scaffolding safety regulations and what to do when injured in a scaffolding accident, please complete our contact form and we will forward your information to a qualified workplace injury attorney.