Construction workers are the ones who probably face the greatest risk of job-related accidents, considering the fact that they are surrounded by dangerous and heavy construction tools, large equipment and, sometimes, hazardous chemicals. Adding to the daily dangers that these workers face is the height that they often need to ascend, such being the place where their work needs to be done.

During the early part of the 20th century, job-related accidents involving construction workers increased in number and those injured, to be able to receive compensation from their employers, had to resort to filing a lawsuit. The argument that danger was actually associated with the work, though, or that the employer had nothing to do with the accident, was often enough to judge the injured worker’s claim as baseless.

Federal regulations on safety in workplaces were enforced only in 1971, when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed. OSHA’s main concern was the regulation and enforcement of safety standards in the work place. The rules enforced by the administration were definitely of great importance in industrial and construction sites, where the level and instances of danger were always greater compared to other places of work.

Record of accidents in construction sites show that the four leading causes of injuries are electrocution, being struck by construction vehicles or equipment, being caught or pinned between equipment and a solid object, and falls.

Falls, particularly, present greater danger since by working from great heights, a worker has nowhere to run during emergencies, except on the limited space of the scaffold which he/she occupies. And figures show that more than a million workers work on scaffolds daily, in high-rise constructions sites and around the exterior of old, tall buildings that necessitate restoration of their aesthetic look.

Included in OSHA’s concerns was the recognition of certain types of scaffolds that ought to be used in construction sites. The safety of these scaffoldings have been considered, taking into account the reliability and sturdiness of these equipment under specific weather conditions and the materials loaded on these. OSHA reminds workers, however, that these construction equipment need to be competently assembled, the assembly double-checked and guardrails installed for extra protection against slips, before being boarded or used.

Any careless or negligent act that will affect the safe use of any equipment will have to be reported to site supervisors or to the employer who, in turn, should make sure that the equipment is checked before use so as not to put any lives at risk.


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